So today I woke up before my 4:45 alarm to the sound of wind and what was probably sideways stinging rain. I realized that running outside was not a smart idea so I decided to go to the gym to use the treadmill instead. Now I pretty much hate the DM but on days like this and others in the winter where there is no where to run, I appreciate my gym membership quite a bit. There are some other things I like it for like spin class. I have a stationary spin bike at home but I don’t work it like I do when I go to the gym. I also appreciate the pool for some cardio, the sauna sometimes to relax, the stairmaster for punishment, fitness classes of many kinds for whenever I’m having a whim moment. Mostly my appreciation is for that damn DM because it’s always there when I need it. Today was one of those days. As I tossed on my gear and grabbed my keys I took this picture of the clock on the stove in my kitchen. This is the line between dedication and a hobby. I’m up because I have limited time to fit in a workout these days so it’s either 4:49 or not at all. Wanting it and doing it are very different. It’s like the people on the DM that walk while holding on, no incline and no sweat. Those are the people that wonder why they aren’t reaching their goals. It’s because they aren’t working hard enough for it. I don’t mean to sound like an asshole but really, no sweat, no elevated heart rate, no sore muscles = no achievement. You have to actually put effort into it which includes getting up at 4:30 to get to the gym to sweat. I can’t carry on a conversation without huffing and puffing when I’m running, street or DM. I don’t go to the gym to talk to my friends, I go to the gym to improve myself. Now I don’t know anyone’s situation so there could be extenuating circumstances like coming back from a heart attack or surgery, however, in general there is a definite line between casual fitness….NO! no no no no no! I can’t even use those words together because fitness isn’t casual. How about there is a difference between moving and dedicated fitness. Today that line for me was 4:49 am as I stepped out into a morning that undoubtedly would have ended in some kind of negative result. Today I realized that dedication has set into who I have become from someone who no longer exists. It’s just part of my being now. I don’t even think about it. I just do it day after day working toward an invisible and undefined goal that changes all the time. 4:49 is what sets me aside from everyone else who just talks about it, complains about it instead of doing it. 4:49 is the strength of the lotus that rises up from the mud at the bottom of the pond to bloom on the surface into a beautiful flower. I am the lotus and 4:49 is the fire in the pit of my belly that burns strong like the eternal flame that always reminds me where I have been and why I do what I do. 4:49 is the bar that I always reach for that is just out of reach but always reachable. 4:49 is the line between dedication and a hobby, doing and not doing, wasting energy and getting results. I am 4:49!
I took my sons (17 &19) to yesterday as the last fun mom & sons / brother & brother thing that we do this summer. I really wish it wasn’t that time because my heart is breaking knowing I only have Johnny for one more week. Part of life but one that I just am not adjusting to easily. I hate this time just as much as the first time last year that we left him. Anyway, I thought it would be a great way for me to do something super brave that they would be proud of and something that would give them a morning full of fun that they will talk about. That it will be. It also turned out to be a learning lesson for me as I found out my youngest son James is afraid of stuff in the air that wobbles. He’s my 225 lb gentle giant who has actually zip lined before. John and I surprised him with this because we thought he would love it. He didn’t. He liked the challenges but hated being high in the air on wobbly wires and wooden planks. He did one full course then decided it was more fun to cheer us on from solid ground. I really felt so bad because now it’s only “fun” for two of us and for me it wasn’t so much fun as a sense of accomplishment overcoming my fears to buck up and dig deep for bravery. I wanted the boys to see, and now especially with James on the ground, what it looks like to be so afraid of something and do it anyway. In fact, when we went up on the most challenging course at the end, I heard James say from the ground “if my mother can be brave, I can be brave”! WOW! Very proud of him for attempting another time by himself. He got half way and had to get down but he faced it on his own terms and tried again. Me, I’m just a stubborn Ukraninan but I did it! I Effing Did it!!! I was so scared, I cried at some points, I took deep breaths but I did it. I climbed vertical rope ladders with wooden round rungs that went straight up 5 feet / 10 feet to a platform that was 20 feet in the air. I ziplined 35 feet in the air (thank God for the canopy of trees below that lessened the look of how far up we were). I walked on wires, holding wires, across a span of 20 feet that was 30 feet in the air. I walked across a wire navigating my way around obstacles. It was a day of dusting off muscles in my head that I haven’t really used much…the ones for creative problem solving and concentration to do a challenge while not looking at it which required looking down which I couldn’t do. I sprained my finger on the last challenge because I wrapped my fingers in the nylon strapping that lowered us to the ground. Not a good idea since when it adjusts for your weight and snaps taught it yanked my finger and probably pulled some ligaments in there. That’s what happens when you’re scared. I couldn’t have done it without my sons. I pulled bravery up from somewhere in my gut to be a good life lesson for them. Johnny stayed with me and waited for me at EVERY obstacle. That’s us right there. In this selfie, the only selfie I could manage, we are about 15 or so feet in the air. If you look between us, there’s a wire. THAT was the kind of wires we were holding on to and ALL we had to hold on to most of the obstacles. No safety net, just two industrial hooks only one of which would lock at a time, strapped to your harness. I actually felt safe in the harness. I don’t look afraid here but I was. I just wasn’t looking down because I was distracted by a moment I needed to get for my memories. Johnny was amazing! He told me how every obstacle was designed, the best way to navigate it, how to stay steady and then went first so I could see it done. He’s not afraid. When he got to the other side He fastened himself then turned and encouraged me on. Just looking at him I felt ok. He just kept telling me that I was doing great and he coached me along what seemed like 1,000 yards to the other side of every obstacle. So grateful he helped me and waited for me with a kiss to the forehead and a “good job mama” when I finished each one. James was my safety net. Hearing him tell me that I was doing good, to keep going and that I was almost there was like having a blanket of courage wafting up from below me to help carry me to the other side. It was like a hug from below and it was the thing when I was at the highest point on the course that made me let go of the tree and try again. Yes, I was a tree hugger …literally! At the highest spots I had to hold the tree because the platform wasn’t super big and fear was poking at me big time. What I liked best about hearing James voice was that he knew how afraid I was…he lived it so his words were the words that someone so fearful, like me, neede to hear. He didn’t tell me not to be afraid because he knew I was and that those words wouldn’t help me move on. John didn’t say them either for the same reason. James didn’t say too much that would distract me, just enough for me to be reminded that I could do it. I am sort of happy that he decided the ground was the place for him because I had Johnny up top with me guiding me and helping me and James below me keeping me steady. God I love my sons so! I’m so lucky!!!
Today I am stiff in places that seem hard to believe have muscles, like across my ribs on my back. Not sure I really think about having muscles there but I clearly do and they are letting me know I irritated them with my little overachieving escapade. Many of my invisible muscles are whining today but it feels good when that happens because I worked another set of muscles to stay strong.
Today I was slow. I ran a 12:11 first mile and slow similar miles for 2 & 3. I wasn’t out of breath but I talked and talked and talked. I spent 36 minutes running and could have run another 3 but I stopped. Today was not about me or training or about my race. It wasn’t about time or fitness or bragging rights. Today I ran with my daughter who is at one of the lowest points in her life struggling with weight. I have been there and I know that struggle. I know the demons that close in at night when there is nothing to do but wait it out until daylight when your responsibilities keep your mind busy until you do it all over again. She asked me to help her and how does one say no to someone reaching out for help? I wish someone had been there to help me instead of me clawing my way out all alone. So I put a plan together for her and I got up at 4:45 and we got out the door just after 5am. Together we started and I did most of the talking which consisted mainly of running basics and only concentrating on one step at a time and finishing because today that’s all that mattered. I talked about things to keep in mind about good form and safe running and running for self satisfaction. I think I threw up every running thing I’ve learned as we ran. I just kept talking so she could mainly stay quiet and concentrate on not puking LOL. We stopped and sipped Powerade every mile so she could take a breather and much to her surprise she made it all 3 miles! You see when you’re alone and struggling the desire to stop outweighs the desire to power through it especially when you’re fighting extra weight and a bulging disc in your back all you want is a reason or an excuse to stop so there is no guilt. It’s really hard. Period.
So today was all about a memory for me. It was about being there when someone needed help to encourage them and show them the way. It was like reaching out my hand to help Fat Brenna and tell her that everything will be ok. It felt wonderful to be there for a first all while hoping it wasn’t the last. It made me feel good and made all the normal thoughts about pace and time and form and things that needed me to do them back at home go away leaving only a sole purpose and that was to be inspiring to someone. It filled me with sunshine on a dreary cloudy day and that is something that you can’t buy. May you have days where it’s all about you because you need those days but may you also have days where it’s all about someone else because that is like community service for your soul.
Progress is slow it’s as simple as that. As much as we would like to see results right away it just can’t happen that fast unless you’re Mama June and even that took time. I’ve been taking progress pictures of myself since November and some of them look like I’ve made good progress and others just don’t look different at all. Some days I wonder how I can do more. Other days I try to switch it up so I am doing some different things so my body is confused and doesn’t get complacent. Then there are days where I wonder why I do all that I do because let’s face it, I’m 48 and probably not turning too many heads any longer. I mean I look nice outside thanks to hair dye and makeup and staying fit. Clothes hide cellulite and sometimes bulges in bad spots so to see me with clothes on is sort of an unfair picture. I’m not complaining at all because I know how I feel and in fact still hear from people that are impressed with how I do look. It’s the bathroom mirror that bothers me and all the work that I do that isn’t doing enough that can sometimes be a downer. My answer to myself is if you want it, work harder. That really is the answer that I need to own if I want it bad enough. I want it but I’m not willing to really do a ton more than I am because I care about good health and feeling good, which I am in and do, over trying to look like someone that I’m not. Even with this realization and understanding I still have the days where I feel defeated. It doesn’t last long because I live with a child fighting the weight and good health battle. When I see her trying so hard right now I remember how far I’ve come and remind myself to appreciate where I’m at and do what I can to support her.
I wrote today’s blog because last night she said sort of jokingly that she wished she could see results in a week. Yeah, don’t we all! That would be great but as we all know, it takes 30 days for you to feel a difference, 60 days to see the difference and 90 days for your friends to see it. That fact is with a LOT of hard work, dedication and determination. It will happen but it just takes time. We have to be patient and do our due diligence to get there plain and simple. I have always believed that you have to want it bad enough to sacrifice all that you need to in order to get it. That is where I find that many people struggle because we have become a society of instant gratification and unwillingness to work hard for what we want. Where there’s a will there’s a way plain and simple, we just need to find it and get it done. Remember to use the 21 /90 rule to cement your commitment and to go from attempting it to in the habit of it to having a new lifestyle that changes your life!
How bad do you want your goals and what do you sacrifice to achieve them?
Last night I did workout #2 in my basement and my son joined me. He joined me more out of guilt for not wanting to and to avoid saying no again. He isn’t the working out type. Unlike my oldest son, he doesn’t want to work out. He does do sports in school but doesn’t want to do the work to become as good as he can be at them. Despite all our encouragement, nagging and pleading with him to stay healthy and put some effort into it, he avoids working out like the plague. He works out sometimes with his brother and preferably if his father is also working out since his brother is kind of hard on his lack of form, effort and enthusiasm. Sometimes occasionally he will go for a run between 1-3 miles on his own but usually it’s because Football season will be starting or because he is trying to get his wind for Wrestling and sometimes it’s just to keep us off his back I think. He will come with me when I run but usually takes the easy road out and rides his bike next to me. Sometimes he runs with me but not usually and definitely not when it’s hot out because he isn’t good in the heat.
So last night he came down with me and decided to ride the bike first. I did the second half of my Tabata workout which was everything but Abs since I did those in the morning. He did the bike that for about 15 or so minutes and then did two or three TRX exercises Tabata style and then he was done. It was a “Meh” workout at best in my opinion. I thought about that for a moment and I decided that it was better for him to have come down and done something than for him to have done nothing at all. I remember being his age and the thought of working out. I didn’t do that faithfully or nearly at all until I was in my 40’s and depressed and gaining weight. I needed a reason that motivated me all by myself and I assume he will get there some day I hope. It doesn’t matter how many times I ask, beg, nag or guilt or plead with him to work out because it won’t happen until he WANTS it to happen. It’s like anything we do in this life. You have to want to do it to make it happen and not find excuses not to do it. He won’t until he wants to, period so until that time I believe it is my job to keep asking and inviting him to join me. I know how hard it is trying to do something on your own without support so I will be his support system and just be there when / if he needs me to help him. That’s all I can do.
I will continue to be the best me that I can and trying to be an example and a beacon of inspiration for my kids and anyone who wants to try who might just need support. Those are the people who don’t know how to start or keep going. The ones who have to talk themselves out of quitting every day who just need some encouragement. THAT is who I feel compelled to reach out to. That’s what I feel my job is at the moment so I will do it to the best of my ability. Everyone starts somewhere and has someone from whom they draw inspiration and courage to try new things. I run for those people because I was one of those people! Those people who struggle every single day are best described by someone I admire every day and someone who makes me look forward to reading every blog and listening podcast that she puts out there for “those people” to read @KellyKKRoberts. Kelly Roberts is the Queen and Captain of the Sportsbra Squad.
I was a 3 miler until I met my friend Barbara who put it in my head that I could run 13.1 miles. That seems like so long ago but I remember the conversation clearly and I remember thinking “can I?” Turns out it sat in my ‘craw’ for a long time until I signed up for my first half marathon with encouragement from Barbara and my husband. Look at me now! Without someone to push me and allow me to go at my own pace I might not be where I am today. I want to be able to do that same thing for anyone who might need it including my son, daughter and niece.
I have had a few goals in my time running and a few in my life. I read a lot about running and about other people’s running goals and trials, successes and failures. If we don’t set goals we don’t have a reason to push ourselves to improve and to step out of our comfort zone in order to achieve them. When I weighted 200 lbs and wanted to lose weight the goal was to lose weight simply by running. I did it. When I wanted to run a half marathon I signed up, trained and I did it because I set the goal. One thing I know about goals is that if you are afraid of them you should definitely put it out there for everyone in the world to see, tell your close friends and just do it! The thing about the running community is that we have all failed at some running goal at least once so if I fail I don’t feel like anyone would have anything but encouraging things to say. Runners are just like that and that is one of the greatest things about us. So I’ve talked about the big “M” for a little while now. Wanting to, hoping to, thinking I might but not quite yet because my son is still in High School and I feel like training would take away from the time I feel like I want to give him as I did his siblings. My time is coming make no mistake about it and I’m looking forward to it. At this point it’s about a year and a half before I could even make my first attempt. The improvements that need to be made in order to successfully achieve this are great in that I will have to work my ass off to get there. I’m willing and willing is all you need when you marry it with determination and Ukrainian stubbornness.
So a few posts ago, I told you about someone who told me “yeah, good luck with that” in retort to my statement that “anything you can do I can do better”. It’s been in my craw ever since just stewing and brewing and marinating itself into obsession. Don’t tell me I can’t because I will make it my mission to throw it in your face. So there it was like this horrible dangling participle floating in the air begging me to take it on. How can I not chicken out of this? If no one knows then I could just forget it for a while or even forever and no one would be the wiser! But what I would never want to happen is to get old and never have tried to do it. I can live with failing at it because at least I tried to and that is respectable. So today, I put that goal up on my wall to look at every day. To keep in the back of my mind every minute and to take with me in my heart on every run. It’s now up there for real people to see other than me. It isn’t a secret any longer and even though this scares the shit out of me, @KellyKKRoberts made me believe that trying is what we do and that to give it your all is all we can do. Fail or succeed to meet the goal is less important than having tried. So here it is. The 9:30 average paced runner, 2:14 half marathoner is setting a goal for the big M. No date yet but training and working toward this goal starts now. Hanging on my wall at work and now here for the world to see… my marathon goal times now on the proverbial record…
God help me!
It’s no wonder people quit working out or are easily discouraged from sicking with a fitness routine! My regular routine was interrupted last Thursday but not because I had excuses not to, but because I raced and rested and it threw my strength training back a few days. Thursday I did my Tabata workout, Friday I ran, Saturday I had a full rest day to try and have a great race, Sunday I raced, Monday I had another (uuggghhh) full rest day and yesterday I ran. Seven full days without lifting a weight of any kind. The why is totally reasonable and understandable but the consequences of that were clear to me as I was drippier than usual and the fireplace was not on. All the exercises seemed harder and they were the same that I have been doing since November. Who knew that just a few days would be steps backward but why wouldn’t they be? Having this experience this morning helps me understand why those who are less dedicated start and then quit. Now in all fairness, some quit because well they don’t understand that it’s actually work to workout, some whine about it then quit because they aren’t willing to put the effort in and others just don’t start because they want to whine about what they don’t have without putting any effort in We’ll exclude those people for the sake of this blog. The few that aren’t prepared to make fitness a part of their lives who are not fully educated to good days, hard days, bad days, off days etc, are the people I feel like I better understand today. If I were anyone else I too could complain about it being harder today and use it as an excuse to not do it any longer and just focus on running and biking. That would only hurt me and weaken me which is what I don’t want but totally get this morning. This feeling of a set back of sorts is my gentle reminder that what I built up can go away really quickly. It’s what motivates me to keep going. I am bound and determined that I won’t be all gross when I’m 80. I may not be slender and beautiful like some others but I am healthy and strong and honestly on the inside I feel like a super strong Rhonda Rousy build so who cares that I have a chunky ass, thick legs and short bodice. It’s how you feel that matters and putting in the effort to be the best you that you can be. So today just reminded me that I should keep going. a 40 minute workout was all I could get in but that’s better than not having one. Every day do something for yourself whether it’s walking, swimming, riding a bike, running, strength training, taking an aerobic class or whatever you dig. Move, eat well, rest and laugh a lot! Life is short so do things that allow you to live it as long as you can!