Sometimes the moments we feel most lost are the ones in which we find ourselves

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Friends in High Places!!!

I had the most wonderful weekend! My two best friends from college came to visit and I hadn’t seen them in almost 2 years. They are the kind of friends who you can go long periods of time without seeing or even talking to often, and as soon as you get back together it is just the same as if you saw each other ever day. It was so great to spend time with them and I don’t think I have laughed so hard or often ever. We did a lot of the typical Austin things, but the weather didn’t cooperate for everything. We got a good thunderstorm, but made the best of it. We ran around a lot, but it seemed like we were always eating. I mean, we went to Magnolia CafĂ©, Rudy’s, Hula Hut, Kerby Lane, Whole Foods, Alamo Drafthouse, just to name a few. I certainly ate more than I usually eat and the vast majority of it was carbs. I drank more than usual and I also didn’t really workout. I went to bootcamp Friday morning and then nothing else again until the WOD last night. But you know what? I don’t feel guilty about it. Usually I do. Usually I would let a messed up meal or day throw me off course for a month. But that has not been the case. I got right back on it yesterday and had the most amazing clean meal last night. It was comforting to know that I can go for a weekend and be “normal” in terms of going out and not being consumed by crossfit and still be ok. Now, I don’t want to make a habit of it and I won’t. But I think it is a sign of progress that I can find balance between restriction and indulgence, deprivation and over-consumption.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


I did it! I completed my triathlon!!! In the cold and the wind and the mud. It felt so great! Let me recreate the experience for you:

Saturday brought with it ran and a “cold front.” I was worried that we would have to bike in the rain, which was really the only thing I was nervous about. Otherwise, I went and got my race number, checked out the free goodies, then went home to rest, eat well, and mentally prepare.

I woke up at 4 on Sunday morning in hopes of leaving my house by 5. I ate some oatmeal and almond butter, double checked to make sure I had everything, and was out the door. I got to the race site about 5:20 and there were already a ton of people there. Luckily it wasn’t raining, but the breeze was blowing and almost everyone had a sweater of some sort on. I got a spot on the end of the bike rack and set up my transition gear. This is when I thought I would get nervous, but I didn’t. I felt pretty ready for this race and just wanted to get it started! I got marked with my number and met up with my training buddies before heading down to the starting line. This was the coldest part of the day. The first heat went at 7 and I wasn’t scheduled to go till 7:20. So we were all standing around in our swimsuits, barefoot on the concrete waiting to get in the water. It seemed like forever as I watched people race around the markers in the water. Finally, it was my term and the water felt so warm compared to the air. But the wind was going pretty good, which made the water exceptionally choppy and you could actually see the current moving. We waded in to our necks and counted down to the start. 3…..2…1…

And it was on! I kept up with the front of my wave pretty well. I was certainly not the fastest, but I was moving along pretty good. Getting to the first buoy seemed to take forever. We were swimming against the current and it was a good 300 m from shore. Once we started swimming parallel to the sore, the current was in our favor and I just kept telling myself to keep moving. I switched it up between side stroke and breast stroke for the most part and tried to remind myself that every moment I was getting that much closer to the end. Finally we turned to head back to shore, and that was the worst part. We actually had to swim into the current and into the waves so every time you turned to take a breath, you had to be careful not to get hit in the face by a wave. People seemed to really be struggling with the swim and it is definitely a nerve wracking experience. The mass start at the beginning can really be a scary thing and once you get out in the deeper water, you can easily convince yourself you are going to go under at any moment. For me, the swim is more mental than physical and I just tried to keep myself calm and talk myself into getting to the next buoy.

After about 27 minutes, I came waltzing out of the water and started the long run up the hill to my transition site. Getting socks onto wet feet is a real chore! But I managed to get in and out and on to my bike is about 3 mins. Then I was off. The 12 mile bike ride was the thing I was most nervous about. It was a fairly hilly ride and my little hybrid mountain bike cannot keep up with the road bikes everyone else seemed to be riding. The first 4 miles were into the wind and along rolling hills. My legs were surprisingly tired after the swim and I was still dripping wet. For a moment, I began to wonder how I would get through it. But then I told myself this was only as difficult as I let it be, so I buckled down and rode as fast as I could. There was one hill in particular I was not looking forward to. You came down a hill, then took a sharp right into a steep incline. You had to slow enough to make the turn, but have enough speed to get up the hill. A lot of people walked it and they said it was probably the most dangerous section of the course. My goal for the ride was to not get off my bike and to make it up the hill. And I did! It was a quad killer, but I just kept turning my feet over and moving the wheel. This is also when I started my mantra that would last the rest of the race: This hill will not defeat me. I said it over and over again on the bike and on the big hill at the end of the run. This hill will not defeat me. Once I made it up that hill, the rest of the bike seemed a lot less intimidating. Although it took me about 55 minutes, I finished the bike ready to tackle the run.

Oh running. How I love it! Surprisingly, though, this was the part I was looking forward to. Once you start running, you are almost done and you are in total control of how well you finish. My goal was to not walk on the 5k. And…..I did it! I ran the whole wonderful thing. The first ½ mile was very very very muddy. My shoes were caked in mud after about 5 minutes and my feet were soaked and felt like they weighed 10 pounds each. But I promised myself I wouldn’t walk. So I kept running. There was only one serious hill to go up, and that was at the very end. I am glad I ran the course before race day because I knew what to expect. When I got to that hill, I knew how much energy I needed to conserve to make it to the finish. Again, I was not going to let the hill defeat me. There were a lot of people walking and it felt so good to pass them. I made it up the hill and knew I just had a little longer till the end.

I thought that I would be so exhausted when I crossed the finish line. But I felt really good. Like I could have gone longer. About 10 minutes later, my body caught up with me and my legs started bothering me a bit. But all in all, the whole thing was not as difficult as I thought. I may actually do the same course in 3 weeks when they have the Danskin now that I know what to expect and have a time to beat. Even today I feel fine. I think I may have been a little dehydrated so I am just trying to up my water intake, my body isn’t hurting or bruised and I am still pretty stoked that I did it. It was a great experience that I would highly encourage anyone to do. Everyone was so supportive and encouraging and it was very inspiring to see so many women of all ages and sizes getting out there and taking on something so challenging.

Congratulations to everyone who competed and I will see you out there again soon!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Use It

I just got home from doing the Spartan workout. This starts a 6 week challenge of keeping a workout and food log, sending it to my coach, and doing additional workouts. Today was the kick off and we did the benchmark workout and in 6 weeks we will do it again.

I like the workout. I did it in an ok time today. 17:38. Usually, I would feel great right after that workout. However, right now, I feel pretty low. I actually called my husband in the car on the way home crying about what a bad workout it was. It was not bad in terms of time or effort. But I should have gone heavier. For the last week I have been trying to figure out if I should do 65 pounds, which I knew I could do, or 95, which I knew would be a challenge. Always go for the challenge!!! How will I ever get better if I never push harder? I can come up with every excuse in the book. But at the end of the day, I am only going to be as strong, as fast, as fit as I let myself be.

I get frustrated that I work my ass off and don't see better results. For awhile I was starting to think my expectations were too high. Tonight I realized they are not high enough. I don't push myself far enough out of my comfort zone. Working out 6 days a week, 2 time a day does nothing for you if you are just going through the motions. I never really thought I was, but tonight was a wake up call. I HATE feeling like I am a disappointment. To others and to myself. But I have to stop being afraid. Afraid of not being good enough. Of looking stupid. Of being judged. Of everything.

When we did our body assessment tonight, I didn't look at my weight. I am pretty good about dropping pounds during challenges, but I don't want to focus on that this time. I don't want the scale to be my measure of success anymore. I don't want to be just good enough anymore.

A wise guy told me the other night that you get back what you put out in to the world. When you focus on the "I don't want" and the "I hate it when" you draw it back into you. You make a reality what you were trying to avoid. So instead, let me rephrase the above ideas. I am going to focus on getting stronger and getting leaner. I am going to let the pain and discomfort be an indication of my progress and push through. Most importantly, I am going to blow myself away with how far I can go and not settle until I get there.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Triathlon...Here I come!

In a week, I will be a triathlete. A few weeks ago I wrote about how odd it was to be called an athlete. Now I have to adjust to the tri part of it.

I feel ready. I feel confident. I feel proud that I am doing it and I know that I am going to push myself as hard as possible and do as well as I am able. This being my first triathlon, I am certainly nervous and have no idea what to expect. But everyone I talk to says that you get the most amazing feeling afterwards. So we shall see. I will be glad when it is done as it has been looming in the distance for a few months now. But I will miss the motivation of training for it. I have done things in the last few weeks that I hadn’t done in a long, long time. I forgot how great it feels to be on a bike. I forgot how much I love to swim and be in the water. So I will just have to keep it up on my own and make it fit in somehow.

Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would participate in much less look forward to being in a triathlon. Another testament to how much my life has changed and how much more alive I feel because of it.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Strong and Focused

Today is the first day in a while that I feel healthy and strong. I can’t lie; I have been struggling the last few weeks to find the right balance of workouts and eating. I have been working out a lot more, so I used that as an excuse to eat more. I was giving myself little indulgences far too often and wasn’t saying “No” as well as usual. But for the last week, I have really tried to focus in and be much more deliberate with what I eat. And it seems to be working. I am feeling good and energized. My workouts have been great and varied. Biking, open water swims, 5k runs, and of course crossfit. I feel like I am moving in the right direction again. And there is nothing like the feeling of success to keep you motivated!