Friday, May 29, 2015

Little legs...lots of miles

Little kids run everywhere...I know I am constantly telling mine to STOP RUNNING, we walk in this house!  I know that I would be even more exhausted than I already am if I ran around as much as my littles do.  That legs never really loved running until I was in my 30s...and it is my hope and dream to have my littles find that passion sooner than that.

I have coached a running club with my friend at our children's elementary school for the past three years/four sessions of club.  She started it up the year before I joined her and we have had a great following over the years.  Our club is open to first through fifth grade and we see all levels of runners.  That is what makes it the most exciting.

Day one of practice this year we were going over the rules of the club and what our goals would be each practice.  Reminding them that they should try find their own  pace of comfort and not to worry about other friends in the group.  We teach them proper stretching techniques and giggle each session as we watch them fall side to side doing a quad stretch.  I bring G3 and G4 with me so they can cheer on G1 and G2 and the rest of the group.  The kids on the team have named the "Harper Squats" for G4 as he was just little last season and would just hover and squat as the kids did their stretching...we now end each session of stretching with 10 Harper squats...he loves it!

So day one of practice this year...we have done our stretching and our warm up laps...and we are letting the kids head back over to the track to get a quick sip of water before we begin our standard run.  We start them at 10 minutes on the first practice and increase a minute at a time from there.  One little buddy looked at me and my co-coach and asked..."You mean we are going to run today??"  He seemed to want to do anything but this club...he made us laugh as we reminded him that this was in fact a running club.  Weeks go by...the weather gets nicer, the kids are used to the routine...and that same little boy looked at us and said.."Today is a great day to run."  Every practice after that revelation, he ran and never stopped.  We would ask how he was feeling before each practice....his response was always "It's a great day to run."  My heart was full.

G4 and G3 would stand with the coaches and hand out the bands that we give to the kids so they can count their laps.  Every once and awhile G3 and G4 would participate in a cool down lap or someone would invite G3 to run a slow lap with them...and she would do it and be so proud of her colored band.  G2 would not always be into the days of running, can't we all relate to that!  I would remind her in the early portion of the laps that she will be upset with herself if she doesn't pass what she did the last session.  She assured me she would be just fine.  Sure enough, when we came to the end of the session-she would push as hard as she could to get those final laps in...and some days break down in tears that she didn't meet her goal.  Again-can relate to that.

The kids would cheer each other on as they stood and waited for a friend to finish, younger siblings would run and try their best to keep up with the big kids.  With each practice the kids became more engaged and more focused on their own individual goals.  Two buddies would push each other to run just one more lap...all with a smile on their face.  

I don't know if these kids will continue to run to see what else they are capable of or if this was just a quick pastime to make the school day go by faster, but they brought so much fun into running.  It was so exciting to see them uncover this new relationship with something that is so close to my heart.  Their excitement when they met their goal or set a new personal record was something you wish you could bottle and use for yourself later...little did they know I did!  I think of them when I want to stop and I keep going.  

Python Pacers!!
25 of the 40 participants headed to a 5k race this past Monday...and many brought their parents or siblings with them to the race!  It was so fun to see all these faces a little nervous on race day and still get through a grueling 3.1 miles.  I can't wait for next session to meet our next group of pacers...and see what inspiration they bring to me and the rest of the team!  1400 miles were covered in these past 11 weeks...could not be more proud!

Embrace the suck...choose you...even these little legs can too!!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

All the small things...add up

The thought of reaching your end goal is amazing...the thought of reaching half way to your goal is equally amazing.  The thought of any change other than what you are currently at in a positive way is amazing.  The thought of putting forth the effort to get to that goal, plan out your day food and exercise definitely NOT amazing.

As I sit here roughly 20 weeks out from the day that I will be competing in my first ever half iron distance my MIND is BLOWN.  How I talked myself into this huge feat is just plan crazy but for those of you that know's not that surprising.  I participated in a few local sprint triathlons over six years ago but that is small beans next to what I will be training for in October.  I know I can handle the run portion of this race...I don't know how it will feel after swimming 1.2 miles and biking 56 but the 13.1 miles of me and the road are what I am currently looking forward to the most.  That is my comfort zone and where I will find happiness during this adventure.  My support system seems to think I will do great...guess I should believe them if they believe in me.

South Riding Sprint Triathlon 2009
The training plan for this beast is time consuming and not yet overly intense...seems bearable but I know that it will ramp up quickly and I will be running, biking and swimming all the hours of my days or so it will feel like it.  I have my print out each week of what I have to do.  I transfer it over to the white board next to the bike in the basement,  have it next to my Garmin so I know before bed what I am running the next day, and the swim workout goes into my bag and I am off to the pool.  When I do these items individually none of them seem to remind me of the true beast I will face in October...and that makes it that much more manageable.

So the same goes for this fitness journey that you are on...and that I started in January of 2014.  You can't look at the big picture every day.  The big picture is sometimes scary and will keep you from reaching your end goal.  The big picture is sometimes not realistic and when we focus so hard on that we lose out on what could be.  The big picture on some days is just too much to handle.

Focus on the small things...and the small successes.  For me a week at a time is probably all I can handle to feel like it is something I can accomplish and have success in.  On my Facebook page I have started up a second monthly challenge.  If I tried to do the 125 sit ups on day one of the challenge...I would have failed...but by day 30 I KNOW I will be able to do that...I have gotten stronger and more confident every day.  These challenges are just one more small thing that I add to my day.  These are not on my training schedule for the Ironman but I know they will help overall.  

Don't give up on yourself either.  I know how tempting it is to throw in the towel on a workout or on a day of bad eating and just go off the deep end.  I know how much you want to say F this...I am just fine the way I am. probably are fine...but you could be amazing and more than you ever thought you could be.  I am not talking the physical you...but the you that is on the inside that is dying to shine on the outside!!  The you that feels so much more than how you currently share yourself with others.  The thing can do it...and you don't have to kill your body and soul in the process.  Start out small...and keep adding more small changes.  It will add up and so will all those .2 losses on the scale.  A loss is a loss is a loss and as you continue to stay focused they will continue to add up.  Doing a set of 25 sit ups in a row instead of just 5 at a STRONG and showing improvement!!    

Temptations are everywhere but you just have to decide which hard you want to face each day.  Change is right there waiting for you...all you have to do is try.  If you are currently trying and having success that is great...and if you feel like you are not giving your all...that is okay too.  At this moment you are giving the most you can possibly give to this effort.  If you want to try a small it...see if it is a sustainable one...and see the results change...endurance will increase, pounds lost will increase, and your fitness and lifestyle goal will be closer.

You have decide this for yourself...and you alone.  Start with the small changes...

Embrace the suck...choose you!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

What's my plan...Choose Your Hard

I have been meeting a lot of new people out and about and have been sharing fitness and importance of healthy eating with them...lots of times it seems to be brought up in general conversation because it's a struggle we all have.  One of these lovely women that I met the other day said something to me that has really stuck....Choose Your Hard.

Everything in life has a consequence around it....nothing is truly easy.  When you feel like you may be at your lowest point and health and exercise has taken a back seat in your busy and exercise seem like the hardest thing in the world to get back around to.  Then there is the other hard.  The tears you may shed as you go to your closet and figure out what you can wear that day that doesn't make you look like how you feel on the inside.  It's the hard that is trying to keep up with your kids as they play at the park and you told yourself...this would never be me!  It's the hard that is making a poor food choice and then letting the guilt set in with you and it only makes the whole experience snowball into more hatred and guilt you have for yourself.  It's the hard remembering when a parent tried to reach out to you way back when to try to help get you on track...and it was just too hard to bare to accept that maybe you needed that help.

Working out everyday is hard.  Getting to bed early so you can get up early is hard.  Prepping your home with healthy and nutritious snacks and dinners that are not crazy high in fat and calories when you have NO TIME to do anything is hard.  Figuring out what is the right thing for me to eat that I will still enjoy and no longer have that horrible craving is hard.  Not making this all into a BIG thing in front of your kids because you don't want them to have any concerns for themselves is hard.  Removing yourself from the kitchen to go to bed early so that you stop grazing on crap is hard.  It is all hard.

So the choice is yours.  Which of these hards do you want to face every day and what is your tipping point to make you realize that you can in fact choose the right one and it won't be so hard forever.

I was asked today how did I approach my "diet" when I started all this.  Most of us know what are the things we should be eating and the things we shouldn't be going near at all.  So not having cookies, cakes, anything sugary in my immediate area is the first step for me to success.  That is not to say that I do not partake in sweets as allowed...If there is room in my food log for the day...a cup of ice cream is happening for sure!  

I think I then just started figuring out things that I liked that kept me full and were low in calories.  There wasn't a plan per say that I followed...but a lot of trial and error.  I again really don't have an issue have a delicious taco salad almost every Tuesday night...I look forward to it.  My breakfast is the same thing and has been the same thing for well over a year.  One envelope of Wegmans Maple and Brown Sugar Weight Control Oatmeal...I bet for the past 365 days I have had that for breakfast at least 350 of them.  

Lunch is usually a wrap of something...Deli Turkey, Leftover Grilled Chicken, Leftover Ground Turkey Taco Meat, Blackbean Chipotle burger.  Those are my four lunches added with lettuce, tomatoes, onion, avocado, feta, cheddar, sour cream, salsa (all weighed and measured)...whatever goes with what I am eating.

Dinner is pretty routine too.  Turkey taco Salad, Turkey Ragu, Turkey Chili, Turkey Barbecue Burgers with Sweet Potato fries, Fish Stick Tacos, Chicken Over Salad, Asian Chicken with Cauliflower Fried Rice, Salmon&Brussels Sprouts&Sweet Potatoes, Chicken Parmesan, Meatballs and Spaghetti, and Chef Salads.


I do not have much of an issue having things in a loop.  There are nights were we will make something different for the kids then we are having but we are trying our best to make that less and less.  We weigh and measure EVERYTHING!!  I may have the kids down at the table...a quick grace is said and then my husband and I finish plating our food as it takes a little bit longer to get it all together.  I guess that's hard but to know all of what I am eating so that I can be sure to have a spare 220 calories for my cup of ice cream makes it all worth it. 

Another question I was asked today was what was it that finally pushed you to change your habits?

January 2014
I knew what I was doing was not going to get me anywhere good.  And that lovely night of January 25th 2014 when I JAMMED myself into a dress to get to my husband's work party...I COULDN'T breath, literally unzipped the dress while walking out of the hotel...want't to die and cry and just be out of there ASAP.  I knew I had put it off long enough and it was go time...I had to get serious.  I knew what to do...I had done it before but this time it was going to be forever and I was going to push further than I had before.  This was more more excuses! 

I picked the hard that was getting on the treadmill, logging food, and saying no to more food and bad choices.  I just had to do it.  There really wasn't any other choice.  If I stayed with the other hard of feeling like was only going to get worse...and that would have been horrible for my body and my soul.  So I chose me and all the hard that is associated with a daily struggle with yourself to get and stay on track.  There are days that I want to eat like crap and not do my run but they are far less than they once were.  I know that myfitnesspal will keep me on track and let me still enjoy the foods I want when I have earned them.  That is not hard.  We are not children...we are adults...and we have to have that realization that hard work pays have to make that decision for yourself.

So ...what is your plan...what hard are you going to pick...what can you do today to help get you to a better place tomorrow???  Accept that it's a process...accept that things take time...accept the help and support of others...accept that there will be days of failure...but remember there will be sucess and it will be one of your proudest moments.

Embrace the suck...Choose You...Choose the right HARD!!  

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Back to the basics

One of the hardest things I find in most anything is trusting in the process.  That dreaded weekly weigh in with myself and I still did not see the number I wanted to be at.  Nothing ever seemed to move fast enough.  How was I then going to be motivated to get up and work out, make a healthy choice to pick the right foods, and drink yet another Nalgen of water.  Some days it just didn't seem fair or worth it.

You have to want it...and yes I mean really really want it and more than that second glass of wine or second serving of dinner or sharing that appetizer with a friend.  You have to tell yourself that each day is a step in the right direction.  You have to want to challenge yourself and make your body hurt.  You have to know that it will not be easy and it will get better.  You have to know that sometimes your stomach will growl and you will not answer the call.  One day of trying is not going to get you to the finish will be many days of failing, trying and succeeding that will bring you to your goal.

Two weeks ago at the Ragnar Relay in Cape Cod there was a team named Running Down A Dream.  I only ever met Van 2 of this amazing team and those six individuals continue to push themselves towards yet another goal each day.  This team of 12 people collectively lost 1500 pounds!!!!  Are you KIDDING me!  These 12 people gave all they could over these 192 miles and were probably the most beautiful people I meet there both inside and out.  Their enthusiasm for their new self was contagious.  They made you want to try harder and be better and I was so happy to have met them!  They were the definition of commitment to self and determination.  I get teary eyed just thinking about how they put themselves first and made a difference to the most important person they could-themselves.  They didn't shy away from sharing this journey and as a result probably inspired SOOO many others!

When I was chatting with them I shared my story as well.  Told them how I still track my food and exercise everyday...and one of them echoed me...EVERY DAY(in agreement)!  There comes a time when you have to accept that for some people if a goal is to be truly met and maintained...hard work and effort have to be put forth...DAILY!  Not sure if you can see on the pic of their van but three of their team members in this van had lost OVER 100 pounds.  That is beyond words amazing to me. 

Weight is my struggle.  It finds its easy way of creeping back into my life if I don't stay on it, especially challenging with four kiddos and those silly pregnancies.   I know that the kids weren't my only reason for gaining weight... (not all the kids fault)  I know that food choices are my way to success.  I now know that one week of true focus and tracking with no wiggle room gets me back to my comfortable zone.  That doesn't mean I am depriving myself of ice cream at night or cheese and sour cream on my mexican favorites.  It just means that I am weighing, measuring, logging, exercising and being HONEST with myself.  I am not having the other half of G3's peanut butter and jelly or sneaking left over jelly beans in the hopes that maybe walking up and down to do laundry burned an extra 50 calories that I haven't logged.  I am getting up early to make sure I get my work outs in before four other people share their long lists of requests with me.

Up and Down 2010-2015
So I stick to the basics...

-I believe in me
-I log all my food in myfitnesspal
-I have a safe kitchen in that things that are my trigger have n0 home here
-I weigh and measure everything I eat 
-I ALWAYS have my water bottle with me...trying to get 100 oz a day
-I have an exercise plan and know Sunday night as to when I will be working out each day
-I know that I will ALWAYS feel better after a work out
-I do silly challenges to add in extra fitness
-I have a great support system inside and outside my house
-I know that bad days will happen but I don't make that the norm
-I embrace the suck

Remember it is a day at a time...and the journey whether long or short is worth it.  You will be so happy and proud when this new person is uncovered.  You will be in a routine of a new you and all those old habits will be at bay and new better ones will be in their place.  

Embrace the suck...choose you...get back to the basics ;)

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Success or Failure...and the space between

Black or white, left or right, up or down...these are very clear opposite ends of the spectrum.  When it comes to working out, daily nutrition and staying positive I think that you need to have a little bit of grey area.

Don't get me wrong, I am very much an all in kinda girl and when I am in the throws of a training program there is nothing that is going to break my focus.  However after that training program has come to a close I will give myself a little breathing room for a week or so and let my head and body have a little bit of a break.  I do not think that makes me a failure or a winner.  I think that makes me human.

I love to push my body to new extremes.  I love to try to challenge myself every chance I can but I also understand that there are breaking points.  I don't let myself get to that point as a rule but also know that I like to see results and be proud of what I have accomplished.  In my spinning classes our instructor will ask  us to turn the resistance dial once for her and then once again for ourselves and then usually one more for yourself.  In that moment I do in fact do that triple turn because I know I have dedicated 45 minutes to me in this session and I am going to push as hard as I can for me.  I am going to have a successful session.

Then comes the rest of the day and telling yourself you are going to continue that surge from the high intensity workout and you are going to rock the day.  Then you uncover that bag of chewy sprees you have left over from the roadtrip and even though you know they are 50 calories per 8 little circles, you find yourself consuming extra calories you had otherwise not planned for.  One step forward, two steps back....some days that is just how it is.  As long as you have more rocking days then will get to your goal.

Telling yourself you are going to do something is one thing...I am going to work out today.  That may happen but it probably won't.  Stating the fact that you will run x miles at 7 o'clock, or I will go to bootcamp class at 11am, or I will do the ab challenge with the kids when they get home from school.  These are statements...not open ended phrases.  You need to have a clear definition of your goal to reach need to have a plan.

So let's pull up our big girls pants and accept the situation that is upon us.  We want to make a difference in the life we are living.  Well it will be hard, it will suck, it will hurt, it will make you cry, it will make you want to quit before you even get out of bed.  But let's focus on the successes.  Let's realize you did get out of bed and put on your gym clothes and actually WENT to the gym.  You even used a measuring cup to see how much is 1 cup of pasta or dry cereal really looks like.  You drank 60 oz of water in a day...and got lots of exercise walking to and from the bathroom!!  The more you focus on the positive the more positive you will be rewarded with.

G4 and I were running errands last week and I told him when we get home I need to run on the treadmill for a little bit.  He said okay...I play trains...I told him yes he can play with his trains while I run.  When we got in the house to head to the basement, he found my orange visor and handed it to me and momma?!?!?  He is helping bring me positive.  Hubby now runs with an orange visor, he is bringing me positive vibes!!  Yesterday when I drove G1 and G2 to the bus we walked outside and G2 said to me, Mom, this would be a great day to go for a run, the weather is amazing.  She is bringing me positive.  Hubby and I have planned out our weekend of workouts and life and yet again we are able to squeeze it all in...we are focusing on the positive of making it all work...and not the craziness of the timelines.
Three legs done...all at varied paces...but completed...still success!!

So yes there is success and failure and you are probably stepping on the scale or coming back from a run and looking at your time on your watch and thinking one way or another.  But let's focus that today you cared enough to see if the scale moved from your past days efforts, and you actually went for a run.  I would view both of those as a success.

Embrace the suck...choose you!!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Anything but typical

Home finally after a long trip to New England to complete the Cape Cod 2015 Ragnar Relay.  Drove up Thursday to arrive in time to have dinner with ten amazing women and enjoy a most beautiful sunset at the marina in Quincy, MA.  We headed to the hotel to get some sleep as we knew it was the only true sleep we would get for the next 30 plus hours.  Van 1 started off at 7:30 am Friday and the wheels were in motion, we would not finish running until 2pm on Saturday afternoon.  It was amazing.

Quincy MA at Sunset

Yes-we paid money to:

  • buy overpriced sweatshirts
  • pack our clothes in ziploc baggies
  • get sand blown in our faces at the exchanges
  • freeze and wish we packed our long running tights for the night run
  • be scared of the dark and any noises as we run at 3 o'clock in the morning
  • follow the runner in front of you to only run an extra 1.3 miles
  • eat more than our weight in trail mix and veggie straws
  • drive 10 hours in rush hour traffic on the way up
  • drive 6 hours to then sleep for a quick 5 and wake at 4am to get home in time for Mother's Day
  • smell worse than you ever thought was possible
  • ache and cry as you step down out of the vehicle that has been your home for the past 36 hours
  • use a port o potty and try your best to hold down your gag reflex
  • navigate a large xmas light decorated vehicle into small parking spaces and forgetting if you are in reverse or drive as its 4am and you are a little tired

So this is just a list of some of the craziness that goes on during a typical Ragnar Relay.  However these relays are anything but typical.  Twelve women that on any given day would probably not be in the same city doing the same thing.  But this relay seems like a crazy challenge and one that each one of us feels the need to rise to.  Some of us are new to running...some have completed multiple marathons...some have the need for speed...some the need for completion....some of us are hoping to uncover a new layer of ourselves and share it with a new or old friend.  Each member of this twelve person team must be in the moment and ready to do what they must to help the team to the finish line.  Describing this experience to someone else is much like taking a picture of the landscapes we saw and explaining the photo just does not do it justice.

This relay is not a race but a run-everyone is a winner!  What you choose to "run" from or towards is up to you but I can guarantee you will discover something new about yourself, you will make a new connection with someone in your team, you will have a new found respect for someone you just met, you will cry as a story is told of someone's past and share in their sadness and joy.  You will support them to the ends of the earth as they have supported you.  Each one of us brings the same desire of craziness, fun and camaraderie to the team and what actually transpires is undetermined at the start. 

Running as a rule is a individual sport but the stuff that we go through together over the two day relay makes us one of the tightest teams I have been a part of.  This Ragnar Relay gave us an amazing side a typical medal of Event name, Date, Location.  However on the flip side was a piece of a 12 piece puzzle.  When our team put the 12 pieces together a new medal was formed...bigger and better than all of us combined.  This was truly a team effort from logistics, tshirt design, driver schedules, snack distribution, blanket sharer, and shoe blinker puteroner.  I learned so much during my quick quiet solo runs and my team togetherness in the van.  

front side of medal
12 medals together

We are twelve individuals that came together to conquer something greater than ourselves.  We let ourselves choose us for a long weekend away...and even dare we say on Mother's Day.  We showed our families and ourselves that we still know how to have fun, kick butt, and celebrate this life that we are living.  We gave ourselves a great mother's day present...we were living!   

You Ran Me All Night Long 2015 Cape Cod

Continue to Embrace the Suck...Choose You!!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Stay with the pack

It is so easy to fall off the wagon and stay looking up at the other wagons pass you by as you lay on the ground a mess in pieces.  You can so badly want to have the motivation and success that the rest of the group is having but for whatever reason just can't seem to get back up.  I can list out the excuses of reasons why we don't get back up but that is silly as I am sure you are currently rattling off 20 or more in your head at this moment.  We all have a story to tell and it has high points and very low dark points as well.

It's hard to feel motivated and positive all the time...its EXHAUSTING!  I definitely have days were I really DO NOT want to do whatever is on the training schedule but I know that I WILL feel great when I am done.  Having my muscles ache as I start to try new things is a rewarding moment.  It tells me that I still have room to grow and the ache reminds me that I am starting anew.  My run this week HURT a lot and was way slow and a true recovery run.  I needed to remind myself that my body is still recovering from the effort it put forth last week.  I am now in full TRI training for my first Half IronMan in October.  To accomplish all of this craziness I need help.

Generally my runs are a solo session and I long for these times out of the house away from my family and it's just me.  Six people in the house doesn't not allow for a lot of alone time...they need me to get out every once and a while for everyone's sanity.  I head to a spin class each week with two friends and we embrace the suck that is a 4:45 am alarm clock waking us up.  We have minimal words on our way there but on the way home we are awake and so happy we made the decision to get up.  I have jumped back into the pool after a very long long long long long break from swimming.  My gills are not where they used to be but in time I know I will have success.  It is so hard to start something again but you must remind did it can do it again!

Last week's marathon is still fresh in my head and there were many points along the run while I was still with the pacer holding the 3:35 sign that spectators were shouting out...Way to go 335...stay with them...they will get you there!  Just this weekend in the pool my friend and I were asking my husband(coach) about when swimming and trying to eye the buoy and which way to go...He replied...stay with the pack...they will get there before you will if you derail.  This week on Orange Visor on FB I started up a little ab challenge.  We have 66 people doing this challenge and a few unregistered spouses and friends...all supporting one another.  I am part of a running group on FB as well that we update our daily mileage to get to our goal for the year.  I didn't know these people before but the encouragement that we give each other every day is so needed, appreciated and motivating.

I know it is hard to stay focused and keep your eye and heart on the prize that is not yet within arms reach.  I know that telling yourself that the workout you completed that you are yet to see any true results from, because we all want instant results, was hard and frustrating and you don't want to do it again.  I know that the delta between where you are and where you want to be seems so very huge.  My advice here is to first believe in you.  You are your number one fan and once you get on your own bandwagon success will hop on too.  Second-surround yourself with others with similar goals.  It is so easy to let that one friend totally throw your solid week of good eating and work outs under the bus because...hey...didn't you have a great week-go ahead and have a huge piece of cake.  If you are with a supportive group it may be an offer of a walk around the block post dinner instead of a big dessert.  Every day I need help to reach my goals in one way or another and without the people around me that help and support me...I would not make it-they are my pack...and I am staying with them.

Tomorrow is a new day-start fresh...stay strong...embrace the suck....and choose you!!