Thursday, July 10, 2014

Climbing out of the darkness to find light again...and finding the athlete along the way.

These past few months have been a whirlwind of success for me, personally and athletically. These last two weeks of workouts have been fantastic and I finally feel (after about 20 months since my last half-marathon) that I am clicking again on all cylinders. I used to be the person who during a period of good fortune would just wait for the other shoe to drop. It sucks to wait around for bad things to happen. I made a promise to myself months ago that I would not live my days like that.

20 months ago, I finished my 4th half-marathon with a PR. In the mile high city to boot. And then my personal life went into turmoil. Separation, divorce, new dwelling, arrangments for the kids...etc. A lot on my plate mentally and emotionally...and the physical part pays a price. And as much as I hated not working out as much as I used to, I needed to give myself a break. Literally. I needed to work on the inside while giving the outside a break. I needed to comfort my kids that we would all be okay. I needed to comfort myself that I am worthy of love and devotion. I needed to set up a home and security for my children. I needed to work on my self-esteem and confidence. It was a dark time for me. Slowly and surely, I began to believe in me again.

Believing in yourself and building your self-esteem again takes time...and some good therapy. And the support of family, friends, and those who love you. It is because of this new-found spirit that I have been able to tackle my workouts again like I used to. I am still working on the "fear" aspect such as "I can't do this" but that seems to be getting better as well. Last night before a run, I was going to run one route (because it was flat) and decided at the last minute to change routes. The new route? One major uphill that lasted the whole 4th, last mile. The me 20 months ago would have said no. The me yesterday said "why the fuck not?". Slowly but surely, I am learning to get out of my comfort zone and give myself a push. During that turmoil, I needed to stay in my protective shell. In these last few months, I have been cracking that shell as the new me appears. I like this new me so far. More mature, less self-absorbed, more giving, more understanding, more patient, more reserved, someone I like more. But most of all, more happy. This new me will keep running in this new life and light and I can't wait for the possibilities.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Tomorrow is another workout

I was due for a bad happens...and it happened to me tonight. First my swim cap ripped. That didn't bode for a good swim and it did not go well. Then I moved to the spin bike where around the 10 minute mark, I got the notorious side cramp and my jumping was over. Bad workouts happen, I was due. The old me would have pitched a fit and cried. The new me is ready for a new day. A new day, a new workout. Remember these workouts on the day you feel that nothing will stop you. Makes you remember that you are human and and shit happens. Hopefully I will have that all cylinders clicking workout soon to make up for the one that I would like to forget...

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Eat to workout or workout to eat...that is the question...

Something happened during my training swim last night. It could have been the fact that I had been watching plenty of you tube videos on proper swimming techniques. I was definitely working on my form last night. Driving my arms through the water, twisting my upper body through the water, keeping my face in the water, bending at the elbows. I felt I had a lot more power in the water. Which is why I did 2 extra laps than I had planned.
So was it proper technique that powered me last night? Perhaps. But I also added a pre-workout snack an hour before...a carb-loaded snack...and I feel that made a big difference.
I never wanted to do a pre-workout snack before...unless my training plan was calling for a 6+ mile run. This was just a swim and a spin...why not go into the workout hungry? Because if I was going to get the energy that I needed, I needed the fuel to do those extra 2 laps. I did that again for my run today...powered up with a carb bar.
I commented last night on my Daily Mile training log about this and one of my friends posted, "it's how you look at it, do you workout to eat or eat to workout?" If you workout to eat, you may be in the wrong mindset. You are using exercise as a way to justify eating a big meal later...

Disclaimer here...yes, I DO THIS on occasion. But not a big greasy, fried meal! Maybe just for an extra beer later. But thinking that on a regular basis may not be ideal.

Eat to workout? Interesting concept...eating food (good foods mind you) for a workout become fuel. Fuel is required to make a car run. Fuel is required to make Jenn run. So if I keep myself fueled with good foods, the workouts are better, stronger and more efficient.

Why is it hard for me to get out of the workout to eat mindset? I guess I blame Weight Watchers for this. With their plan, you can earn activity points that you can use for food as a reward. And as a former leader and pusher, I would use this mantra and statement every single week in my plan outlines for new members.

But with an athlete, you eat to workout...otherwise, you bonk...(thanks swimbikemom for the bonk line). And I have reached bonk once...when I was not properly fueled...and almost fell off the treadmill. Not a place I want to go back to.

Training for a triathalon...mindset of an to Jenn mindset.

And FYI, my fiance did throw out my scale...I hate him and love him at the same time. And yes, it was very freeing!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

What I should have given up for Lent - the scale

I am really enjoying SwimBikeRun mom's book about doing triathlons. I am currently reading the chapter on nutrition. And it is hitting me really hard. And I know what I have to do. I have to put away the scale. I must put away the scale. The only thing that will save me from going insane during this period of time is putting away the scale. (gulp, panic attack, lamaze breathing)
Why is it so hard for me to put that scale away? Why am I so enslaved to a number?
How enslaved am I to a number? The other night before going to bed, I weighed myself. I had just completed 2 hours of working out, which included an hour of strength training and an hour of spinning (with the satan spin instructor). I was up 3 pounds??!!? After eating a salad with chicken?!? WTH? I was defeated, pissed, mopey, etc. It was only until later that my fiance informed me that the scale was not zeroed out and that I was actually down 6 pounds and not up 3. Enter relief... then enter the realization of being at the submission of the digital God...
I must change this relationship...Me vs. the scale.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Every Woman Triathalon Rules - or for use in your daily life

Rule 1: Believe in yourself.
Rule 2: Ignore those who do not believe in you. Or better, eliminate them from your life.
Rule 3: Know when to stop.
Rule 4: Most importantly, know when to keep going.

Apply this in training or in everyday life and you will be much happier!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Day 1 of Tri training

So today began the trek to my first sprint triathalon...I am keeping this diary for measure my training, my emotions, how my body feels, etc. I have always wanted to do one...and decided I am not getting any younger. There is no time like the present. I have done bike/run combo trainings before. What's another leg to make it a tri?
Enter the swim...and an athlete is humbled...
Humbled by the fact that swimming tires you out in general...I mean, your whole body...
Humbled by the fact that I have never swam competitively...ever...
Humbled by the fact that after the first lap, I was tired...
Humbled by the fact that if this is the first leg of the Tri, do I have enough stamina to do a tri?
Humbled by the fact that my first swim workout was tiring and realizing I only did 312 yards and have to do that twice more to do the swim leg?
Humbled by the fact that when I left the gym I wanted to cry...
Humbled by the fact that I was feeling defeated...
And wondering what I have gotten myself into...

I came home and got a hug from my fiance who knew I was feeling lackluster to say the least. I really wanted to shed tears, but I didn't. It was my first swim, ever? Maybe the first time I have done the crawl since I was 11 or 12? So although I am feeling less than stellar, I am giving myself a break...a small one. I am very competitive and hard on myself. And the only one I am competing with right now is my mind.

The bike after was much better. But I am already used to that.

Thus ends day 1...a humbling day for sure...

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Don't Judge Her Until You Walk a Mile in Her Shoes

I am a member of the Biggest Loser Fan Club on Facebook. Yesterday's group feed was in an uproar over the winner of Season 15, Rachel Frederickson. And by uproar, I mean some of the nastiest, hurtful, judgmental comments I have ever seen.

"she looked like a skeleton"
"she looks sick"
"she has an eating disorder"
"I am starting a petition to have her prize money taken away from her because she has an eating disorder" (I cannot make that one up)

And perhaps the rudest of them all: "please give her a cheeseburger"

Before and After

From a size 20 to a size 0/2 and we are going to still criticize?

First, here is a fact: she was a competitive swimmer. Athletes tend to have a lower body fat percentage. The contestant is 5'4" and weighed in at 105 pounds. Which puts her BMI at 18, which is considered to be underweight according to the Centers for Diseae Control. But BMI is not a true science. To measure true body fat percentage, it is more than a chart. For example, my BMI is 23 but when I actually had my body fat percentage measured, I was 18% body fat. Again...that BMI chart is not science.

Second, clearly some of the group members were doctors. Apparently you can diagnose Anorexia Nervosa just on sight alone (insert tongue and cheek). Yes, there are physical signs of weight loss including changes in your hair and skin. Putting that aside, one sign of this disorder is rapid, drastic weight loss with no medical cause. Well, THIS WAS A COMPETITION WITH $250,000 IN PRIZE MONEY! There was no unexplained reason for her weight loss...SHE WANTED TO WIN A PRIZE!!! Having known a family member who suffered with this disease and also discovering that I too recognized some dangerous warning signs in my own past, please DO NOT assume she has an eating disorder unless you have a medical degree and she is your patient.

For more on this eating disorder, see the following link: Help Guide on Anorexia Nervosa

Third, it was a game show to see who could lose the most weight. For MONEY! Oh, I did mention that above. The show wasn't called "The Biggest Loser Who Can Stay Within a Healthy BMI". The show is called "The Biggest Loser". It awards the prize MONEY to the contestant who can lose the highest percentage of weight. She is competitive and did what was needed to win. For MONEY!

Four, no one asked Rachel at the beginning of all this to be a role model on healthy weight loss. They asked her to compete on a game show to achieve the highest percentage of weight loss. For MONEY! For those who think she is not a good role model of weight loss because according to your judgments, she went to extreme levels, then we can educate our family and friends on what we think is.

And while we are on number 4, let's also tell our family and friends that most of us will not have the benefit of living at a ranch for four months, working out 7-8 hours per day with our own personal trainer. That is not the real world.

I guess what bothered me the most is those who trashed her with those nasty comments. I still remember hearing the cow "moos" when I walked by. Perhaps Rachel had heard some of those. Are we now going to call her sickly and skeleton-like and continue to criticize her just as she may have been criticized in the past when she was on the opposite end of the spectrum? Can we stop judging people, insulting people and criticizing people? Can we stop throwing out insults at people because of the shell that they wear? Can we stop judging others on the clothes they wear, the color of their hair, the color of their skin? It makes me so tired.

Can we?