One of the things I like about being in my position having come from a weight problem, depression, eating issues and lack of motivation is my ability to speak from experience. It’s one thing to try and make someone feel better by telling them that they will get there but it’s entirely another to look them in the eye and tell them with complete conviction that only they can reach their goals through making a change. Telling someone that they have to change their habits and be motivated and determined and focused. Assuring them with the tone of my voice that it can in fact be done but they have to WANT to do it. I’ve said it before and I’ll continue to say it till I die, unless you are in a wheelchair, dying or dead, where there’s a will there’s a way. Blind people have run marathons, people without limbs compete in all kinds of sports, fat people lose hundreds of pounds without surgery and why? Because they have sheer determination and will power to do what it takes to get it done. It’s funny how having experience changes how you say something to someone looking for advice. Not having experience makes you want to tiptoe around feelings and impressions. Having experience waives all that because you know how to get it done because you’ve done it and you didn’t accept excuses from yourself and you’re not about to accept them from anyone else. The bottom line advice is Just Go Do It! Period. I did it and so can you! What are you waiting for?
Either I’m getting better at running faster or I’m just in better shape. Either way, I have been able to pull off a few miles under 9:00 which I haven’t seen in a LOOOOOONG time. I feel awesome just because I always do when I’m running but this last week I feel fast like a cheetah hitting sub 9’s. I imaging, knowing it’s just in my head, that the drivers that pass turn their head to look at me and think to themselves “wow, look at that girl go!” It’s probably more like “hey she’s running funny. Is she ok?” I have what my kids refer to as the BRENNA WOBBLE. Yep I am a category! That’s ok, I think it’s cute that they have a name for it. They can actually pick me out of a crowd of many many people just by the way I move. It amuses me.
Maybe hitting those times (8:53 mile 4 today) is because in the back of my mind I want it more and more. I think about improved times during every run and try to get at least one mile that skirts the nine minute mark. I think once you set your mind to something it just happens. I’m not one for excuses, in fact I hate people that just find one for everything. When I hear “I can’t” and I know that you in fact CAN but just don’t want to it makes me insane! Just who I am. What will be interesting to see is what some speed workouts do for hitting those marks. We’ll see.
What are some goals you’ve been surprised that you hit? Did it drive you to set bigger goals or keep pushing to hit it consistently?
Fitness is about dedication, determination, acceptance, fortitude, routine, consistency, learning, application, switching it up, flexibility and so many other things. Learning to work within all of these words to be the best and smartest athlete you can is a process. Sometimes you give it your all and other times you give it all you have in the tank. Knowing when to do either of those things is really important. Being able to accept the days when you just can’t give 100% for whatever reason is something that takes a lot of effort, at least on my part, to wrap my head around. You won’t get very far if you don’t learn to work within the boundaries of what can and cannot be accomplished on any given day. You do what you can and accept that one day at a time.
My struggle to decide what fitness routine I want to do every day at 5:00 am isn’t always clear. Sometimes I don’t even know until that morning what direction I’m going to take. Sometimes I end up doing exactly what I want and other days I just do what I can because time isn’t always on my side. I can’t complain because I work out 7 days a week most weeks and switching up my routine with a schedule like that is really important to staying healthy and not wearing myself down too much. Today I had another fight with my body. We got home from rehearsal at 11:45. Thank god I did lunches earlier in the night! Anyway, my alarm just seemed to go off way too early. I fought with my body, which will be another year older in a few weeks, for 15 minutes after the alarm went off trying to decide if we were headed out or headed downstairs. I wasn’t really keen on even getting out of bed today. Sleep was laying on me like an elephant today and I wasn’t really fighting it much. So after several minutes of consideration and deliberation about what we were going to commit to, downstairs won.
For those who haven’t read my previous blogs, my husband and I build, paint and manage the sets for the high school musical productions put on by The Raynwater Players made up of the students at the school. The show is tomorrow and its ridiculously big this time with too many sets, too many pieces left to finish and too many late nights. Making this all happen is cumbersome and there is just so much prep each night to make the most of every minute. Making dinners and lunches and getting supplies and things grows daily and takes more and more time away from sleeping as we get closer. Today I can’t even go in to work on the show because I will be picking my son up from college for the summer (WOO HOO! SO HAPPY!).
These things all take my time putting a choke hold on free time / me time. These days during show prep I do what I can and accept that for now. The show will be over soon and I can go back to two-fers soon. So today the bike won the draw and it’s actually probably good that I stayed in because my knee felt a little wonky. It didn’t hurt but it just felt wonky today. I believe in signs so I’ll chalk that one up to a sign that bad things would have happened today if I had gone outside to run. Thirty minutes is thirty minutes whether it’s running or weight training or riding the bike. It all goes to reinforce the same thing and that is keeping me healthy and agile. Some days you do what you want and other days you just do what you can because something is better than nothing on any given day.
Have you had challenges getting your workouts in? How do you make it all work?
Once Upon A Time there was a girl….
who would not clear the fog from the mirror after her shower for shame of seeing what she had allowed herself to turn into. Once upon a time there was a girl who wasn’t on speaking terms with her scale for shame of seeing digital confirmation of the disgrace she had become. Once upon a time the evil demon known as self loathing extended it’s shriveled poisonous apple and told the girl to take a bite. Evil wrapped her in it’s arms tightly and sucked the life right out of her beautiful happy sky blue eyes and nearly extinguished the life from her body. The girl refused to be compliant and fade away into the bleak cold darkness of depression … She said “No I won’t stay here with you!” She laced up her running shoes, turned away and never looked back.
Running literally saved my life. There are so many things that I get and have learned from running about life and myself. One of my favorite things about the rewards of running is my self image. I love the way I feel in my clothes, without clothes and how my focus in every day tasks is no longer fighting the feeling of being disgusted with myself but of how proud I feel of the way I look. I love wanting to order a bikini at an age when I should feel like covering that shit up. I love that I want to wear sexy things instead of wearing grandma underwear like I used to. I love actually feeling ok eating ice cream because I know it won’t have time to move into my hips making my flesh hurt because I can feel all the fat under there. Don’t get me wrong, I have fat but not enough to make me feel like I belong on the clearance rack at the dollar store any more. I love that other people tell me that I look good. That’s one of my favorite things especially when another guy tells me that. It’s like confirmation that my husband isn’t lying to me. He of all people wouldn’t lie to me but it’s nice to hear it once in a while from another guy. I love wanting to buy more workout clothes because I like feeling attractive in poly / spandex that used to be worn only to mask the fact that I was growing out of my old jeans. When someone overweight tell you that their “jeggins” are just so comfy, more than likely it’s more closely related to the fact that they have outgrown their pants. Trust me, I WAS that person and used to love that jeans were being made from super stretchy material. It meant that my size 10 would stretch out over my size 12-14 body and I could perpetuate the lie that I was telling myself about still fitting into my 10’s and it wasn’t that bad. What a ruse that was! I love looking for a super sexy holiday dress to wear to the company party because knowing I’m 48 (almost but not yet! LOL) and able to pull off a strappy fitted number with stiletto’s makes me giggle to myself. It’s hard work but it’s the most rewarding, addicting and motivating thing that I’ve ever done for myself and I love the benefits I reap every day. I love looking in the mirror at my face in the mirror because the girl that looks back at me now is who was buried deep inside all along. She’s the face of strength and love, determination and bravery, happiness and laughter and I just love her so much! I hated running when I took those first horrible steps on the track with my son that June day in 2011. I hated it so much but my hatred for it drove me to love it just as much. It turned me from an ugly Nanny McPhee type appearance to a much more attractive person at the end of the story. Running might not be your thing but you should have a “thing” that gets you out there moving and staying healthy working off stress and pounds and whatever shit burgers that life tries to hand you. All you have to do is start and if you stick with it I promise you will grow to love it just like I did. The benefits will become something you can’t live without. You can do it because there’s strength in your soul that just needs to be dusted off. What’s your real life fairy tale?
I’ve heard from many people in my life how hard starting over again is. Whether it be a diet, fitness or life in general, the consensus is that it sucks to be back at the beginning re-purposing and rebuilding. I myself have in fact been back at the beginning on a few occasions and it’s so hard to get back to where you left off and to find motivation to try again. This week I returned from vacation in Va and found that I benefited from the hills there which made my morning run here seem easier. What I didn’t do however while there, was do strength training except one time. That means that in 2 weeks I’ve done only 1 Tabata interval weight session. When you quit for a long period of time you expect regression and go into your rebuild with expected trepidation to what is to come. When it’s only been 2 weeks, not so much. Today I did my first Tabata workout the same way I’ve been doing it for months. I used my 10 lb weights which is where I left off and surprisingly they weren’t as easy to sling around. I don’t know why I thought I wouldn’t have regressed a little but I didn’t and it made me realize just how diligent and consistent you must remain to fitness even when on vacation. Don’t get me wrong, I will get back what I lost, I was just surprised by how fast my strength regressed. Now, I am quite tired from a week of not sleeping right and a couple of later nights getting to bed so maybe that had something to do with how heavy that 10 lbs felt. Whether it got lost or I am just struggling today or both, the lesson here is finding the courage and mental fortitude to stay the path to your goals. Don’t let your situation dictate your outcome. Take Rocky Balboa for example. When he went to Russia in Rocky IV, he was out in the wilderness with no fancy equipment to train on and 3 feet of snow on the ground that might have deterred him and sent him home having quit. As those of you know who watched the Rocky series, he didn’t quit. In fact he creatively improvised and was better for it. He lugged tree trunks through the snow, did vertical sit ups in the barn, ran through frigid water, pulled a field plow, sawed trees and other tasks with everyday things to get to where he needed to be. If you don’t have a gym, buy weights and work out at home and turn your cell phone off. Do sit ups on the floor or on a medicine ball. lift a 10 lb bag of potatoes, run around the block, do squats while watching a movie. The point is that where there’s a will, there’s a way ..always! Even if you do a modified and shortened version of a workout while on vacation, make the time and do it or you’ll pay for it when you get home. Fitness helps to keep us healthy and young in heart and body and mind. It relieves stress and keeps us moving as long as we take the time to do it. I for one do not wish to be a feeble old lady who needs help putting her shoes on or eating or getting dressed. I want to live as long as I can with as much strength and movement as I can possibly retain and that won’t come by wishing for it. It comes through hard work and discipline. There are no excuses including vacations for laziness. Everyone can do something even if it’s just a little bit. Remember it’s a marathon not a sprint and it’s one day at a time, one foot in front of the other. Keep going! You can do it, I know you can!
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!
That right there is the face of my son. He hates to work out but loves to be on the team. He struggles with putting in the work every day to ready himself for things like Football and Wrestling and Track. It isn’t that he can’t or even that he won’t. It’s more like he puts it off until it’s too late in the day and then decides that tomorrow is another day. He knows how important it is for sure and his intentions are good but in terms of determination for the physicality of preparation let’s say he needs prodding and more support than my other son who looks like he’s chiseled out of marble. That being said, football is right around the corner. Hot practices, awesomely long drills, never enough water for my liking all waiting for my son like a firing squad waiting for the condemned to show up. My son is a BIG boy…a big boned solid 220lb 6’3″ beautiful specimen who just doesn’t like heat or physical exertion. So I worry about him puking and overheating and hurting himself for lack of preparation. Therein lies my effort to make running and workouts sound fun. Very “Mom” of me but I can’t help it! So I took him on my morning run today to get the wheels in motion for getting his wind. I did forget his stupid ankle is still healing from what we thought was a bad twist / sprain that is taking forever to heal. He complained about it when we got back and then I felt bad. He made the entire 3 miles with just a few stops for water and to catch his breath but he made it. I talked to him the whole way to take his mind off the run, encouraged him when I thought he was tiring and jabbered on about stuff that he probably didn’t care about but listened to anyway to get him to the finish. When he bounced back, a giant water, banana and yogurt later, he seemed pleased with himself. That’s the feeling that drives me but it stuck with me the moment I finished that first mile on June 27, 2011 and it does every day. James isn’t so sticky so it seems. He needs some Ductape to stick that feeling to him so he wants to do it again and again and again. When he gets there, watch out! He’ll be scary AF when he takes the field, the mat or the starting point with his disc / jav. I want to be part of the reason he gets there because I want him to truly enjoy what he’s participating in. He likes it but because he struggles with the practice part and the working out part it’s less enjoyable due to the struggle. And lets face it, lugging around 220 lbs makes everything harder, longer and heavier, however, with practice those things get better and easier. I am motivated to help him get there. Today my run, despite the fact that I am actually in training for The Falmouth Road Race, was not about me. It was about another in need so the stops and the slower pace were irrelevant to me. It was all about James and I was happy to make it so. I have learned that I love helping and motivating others a lot. If I were younger I might be a marathon coach says the girl who hasn’t run more than 13.1. LOL! I could totally see me doing it because talking people up during a run to make sure they don’t quit inspires me…drives me…..gives me strength.
Think I’m exaggerating? Here’s what James and I were doing a year ago:
That’s right! Prepping for football and notice the same exhausted face he has on and the oh-so-happy face of exuberance I’m wearing! I do love running and even more when my buddy James can come with me! Love that kid and I hope we can always pound some pavement together because he makes me feel like I make a difference to him even when I’m a little annoying like the gnat in the summer sunrise on the African plains…ok maybe not that annoying!