Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Why does one tri...

Last Saturday was a success.  I finished my first Olympic Triathlon and did it well.  I was joined by three friends who were equally amazing in the stellar day!  I think back to my lack of ability to swim and breath at the same time and just smile at the progression I have made.  While on a relaxed training swim the Friday morning prior to our race my friend and training partner Mike and I were floating on our back in the middle of a lake and just were laughing out loud!  What we have changed in our world and how we are now choosing to go through it is at times humorous!

I am "tri-ing" for me.  I am tri-ing for my kids and my family so that I can be stronger and show them that you are important and you need to make time for you.  I have done running races and a few triathlons but I am always blown away by the people and effort at these events.  The camaraderie that builds with complete strangers over the course of the day just makes me happy.  It makes my effort and time spent over the past weeks worth every early alarm, cold water swim and humid bike ride.  This whole journey is not about seeing how fast I can run or what speed I bike at....although fun to see my improvements over the course of my training...but it's about me and the deep down reasons why I choose to push myself.

My buddy on this journey is my friend Mike.  Mike will be forty this year and is married to a wonderful woman and dear friend Laura and they have two great kids who are close in age to two of my kiddos.  We have had many a meal with our families together but it was one meal last year  around November 2014 that moved Mike in more ways than one.  Neither of us remember the details around the discussion but it concluded in "Sure, let's sign up for a half Iron Distance in October of 2015...we've NEVER done that before...should be a great time!?!?!"

Mike and Me post Luray Olympic 2015

April of 2014 Mike and Laura were delivered some news that no one wants to hear or have to share with those that care so very much for them.  Laura was diagnosed with breast cancer.  I can remember the day she sat at my kitchen counter and told me like it was yesterday and I wish that day never happened.  I knew she was a strong women before but a year after this whole treatment and recovery she might be the strongest woman I know.  I don't know first hand but I would imagine that when one is faced with this those that are around you feel the need to be equally strong or even stronger if that is possible.

With that Mike decided that he needed to make a change.  He needed to TRI for Laura and his family.  He needed to change something that was happening in his life...he needed to find an outlet for him with all that was swirling around him.  Mike signed up for a half Iron Distance Triathlon and in the two races I have completed with him so far...he has ROCKED it!  He had never done a race of any kind...I remember him saying to me prior to that night of drinks and food...that his body is just not meant to run...ever.  Mike is also signed up to run the NJ Marathon with me in May of 2016.  Sometimes things just change...and change although hard and complicated...can be really good.

Mike is tri-ing for himself and since December of 2014 with all of our training and his amazing determination...has lost over 50 pounds and is following the training plan day by day.  He is a rockstar and he doesn't even know it.  We wake up early to get our rides in...we swim side by side in our neighborhood pool cursing each other for coming up with this idea as we both swim in our pink caps.  We text each other after a workout to say that was miserable...good luck to you!   We are tri-ing together and for each other and our families.  At each race the excitement that we both feel is at a record high, we give each other a hug...we know that we've got this.  I am pretty sure Laura is next to join in this craziness...she is already running on the treadmill and has a bike on the trainer in the basement...we are one pool away from a new girl in training.  Did I mention she is the strongest person I know!

We have fifty two days til our big race of 1.2 mile swim, 56 miles bike, and 13.1 run.  After completing the hills of Luray we feel like the flatness of Wrightsville Beach may be okay.  My hubby and our coach ensures us every day that we are on the right path, we trust in his plan, we know that we are doing amazing things and we will have a great day!  We know that the support of our families and the example we are setting for our kiddos is all worth it.   The new people that we have become are bigger and stronger than anything we imagined.  We finish things and know we can get to the next day...even with a smile on our face.

So October out for two very giddy, nervous happy people that will be ready to crush 70.3 miles.  We are going to tri our best for us and for anyone that thought this was not possible...and on some days that may even be us ;)

Embrace the Suck...choose you...and as our coach says...sTRIde on!!!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Getting nervous...and scared...and I'm TIRED!!

Is anyone else exhausted!!!??!!!  Summer is still going strong here with only three weeks left...we always think how are we going to survive this with the kids...then mid way through you are wishing you did more with the family....then the end comes and you are treasuring every last moment...letting them stay up late, eat large bowls of ice cream and making sure to take that last road trip!  And through all of this we still have to negotiate showers and who played with what toy first...and if you eat this you can have that.  The bickering and the arguing is definitely coming to a high point and I am just crazy crazy crazy tired of it all!  I love my children and love my hubby but some days...yesterday being one of them...I needed a break.

In the past that would be a easy turn for me to hit up a quick candy bar in the check out aisle of the grocery store or buying a special bag of cookies telling the littles that are shopping with me that this is a special treat...when in fact it was my stress eating and they were just a part of it.  The countless time I would binge on something HoRrIbLe and bury it in the trash are too many to remember.  I would never of taken this frustration and stress and turned into anything positive.  Someone also shared the other day that STRESSED is DESSERTS spelled  backwards....GO FIGURE!!

So with this I try my best to keep my focus.  Having  an exercise daily plan is a huge help for me...there is no question as to what I am going to do each day and no question if I am going to do it.  It happens.  No maybe just happens.  My hubby and usually have our last conversation of the night being...what do you want for dinner tomorrow.  We think of what our exercise is for that day coming up and decide if it can be a low or high calorie dinner...tonight is chicken parm...YUM!  I know that this is a bigger meal so it keeps me on my toes throughout the day...that and many nalgens of water to keep me full!!

I started training for my half iron distance 17 weeks ago and my second "test" for my training is this weekend my first international distance triathlon.  I will swim 1500 meters in open water, 41K (25.5 miles), 10k run (6.2 miles.)  I am scared, nervous and VERY anxious.  Open water swimming is a new thing for me and the hills that I will have to ride on will make every muscle in my body sore.  I have worked every day of these past 119 days.  They say it takes 21 days to form a habit...guess that is true!  This is me trying to be a better stronger me and seeing what these past 17 weeks of training have led me to.  My first experience with triathlons was back in 2008...and let me tell you I did the swim BACKSTROKE!  I had no business being in that pool but there was a part of me that wanted to give it a whirl.  Two other sprints happened quickly after those...and I really enjoyed the multi sport aspect of it all.  

Back to being scared...I have run many worries there...but the speed on the bike in this hilly town has me very very nervous.  In my training ride out there I was going about thirty miles an hour and that was with me breaking and not in "race mode."  What is a mom of four kids with a crazy messy house doing going that fast on a tri bike in the hills of VA...she is holding on for dear life to not cause any harm to herself or others and just focusing on finishing without a wreck!  The swim will be hard not for the distance but the large corral of people that are in this lake with me.  I have heard many crazy stories of people swimming on top of others in these races...just hoping I can keep to the sides and stay away from the masses.  The focus there will be on breathing and just finding that next buoy to swim to!

It's all hard and scary and nerve racking.  Everyday is a struggle with the mind and body whether you are training for an upcoming event or just trying to make it through the day.  It is all really really hard.  My friend yesterday said how crazy it is that I am doing all of this...she then confirmed it was crazy in a good way.  So yeah I am definitely crazy...I know that I have to be.  I have four kids ranging from 11-2....I have a husband that is training for his third Ironman...and I decided to hop on the even crazier train and do a half iron distance in October!!  I know it's all crazy...but for's how I keep myself going.  I need the wheels of my brain and body moving at all times or there will be too many opportunities for laziness and giving up to sneak in.  If I have a plan I will follow it...If I have a mission...I will lead myself there.  I would be tired if I was doing all this or if I wasn't...we are all tired and we are all getting through it day by day.  The choice is to let the horse run all over you or get back on it.  I have chosen to ride this horse and direct it where I want to go!!

Have good thoughts on Saturday morning as I "tri" it again....and hope for a safe and successful event for all participants!  Life is short...we are supposed to enjoy the ride!!

Embrace the suck...choose you!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Transformation isn't about hiding...

I was flipping channels the other night and came across the show Extreme Weight Loss with Chris Powell.  This show is basically Biggest Loser but just focused on one person and they show the transformation over the 365 days.  There are three phases to this process and the first is 90 days of bootcamp with an amazing coach in Colorado.  The girl that was chosen was a former UCLA cheerleader that had reached 309 pounds at the age of 37.

In the taping they show her coaching her team in California of high school cheerleaders and then Chris Powell shows up as a knight which was the team mascot but also I suppose her knight sweeping her away to safety.  This young girl was then asked to step on a scale in the middle of the football field in front of her girls which she has been leading and remove her shirt in the process.  She was nervous, scared and excited all at once...but definitely petrified to remove her shirt on television and bare it all.  

Chris Powell had some amazing words that he said in this crucial moment of her life...
"It takes a ton of courage….Transformation isn’t about hiding, it’s not about protecting the addiction, it’s about exposing it. And once you bring it to light it’s not going to control  you any more. No one is going to judge you here.  Nothing but love and unconditional support here."

After my post this past week with my before and after fifteen years apart I received many positive comments and many on how proud I should be of the person I am today.  Some couldn't believe how brave I was to share such a drastic comparison publicly.  I suppose I am brave but I really wanted people to know that change is possible.  I have no clue how much I weighed in that picture because scales weren't in my game plan at that time but I would guess I was probably at my heaviest ever.  A year after that pic I got married and started my first transformation.  I found that new person at 23 years old and felt strong.  Transformation should just be my middle name for I definitely had to work at making these changes again and again after every baby.  It was nothing I was ever shy about or tried to keep hidden.  It was a way of life.

So now I share this so that someone can see that even though you may have been stuck in that same hole for more than a year now, you have the tools to dig yourself out of it.  Once you are ready and tell yourself and believe it that you can make the change it will happen.  When you have the support system around you to keep you believing in you and pushing you along the way, it will happen.  You have to be willing to take that first step towards the stronger, positive, healthier you and away from the negative disruptive you.  Everyday I want to push myself to stay in this tired as my legs may feel...I will still get on the bike today.

I really hope my courage of sharing publicly, much like that girl on EWL, will make a difference in that one person's belief in themselves.  My story is an open book with dark, gloomy scary chapters and ones filled with butterflies and sunshine.  I am not hiding where I came from or where I am going and writing this all down helps me keep it exposed and keeps me going.  I am now in control of me and can steer myself down whatever path I choose...that is a wonderful feeling.

The girl on the EWL show ended up losing 175 pounds!!  She was able to let herself shine as she felt it had been bottled up for so long...she was literally glowing at that final weigh in.  A year of no joke hard work and pushing herself to the ends of her own limits found her in a place she had only dreamed of being.  It was amazing to watch.  She embraced the suck that was every workout, healthy choice, early wake up call, recovery post late night binge, and mile ran.  She gave it her all.

Embrace the suck...choose you!