Tuesday, January 31, 2012

I Don't Wanna'...(foot stomp)

I can remember throwing temper tantrums when I was little in my grandmother's hallway.  I would lay on my stomach while kicking my feet and pounding my fists into the floor, crying and screaming all the while.  I don't remember it ever having an effect on anyone else in the house.  In fact, I have a memory of someone (an aunt maybe) stepping over me to get into the bathroom.

For a long while now I haven't really "WANTED" to do my workouts.  The idea of doing them is okay until it's time to get it done, then it's like I have a 4 year old's tantrum in my head.  I have these flashes of just saying "I QUIT!!!" and then, in my mind's eye, I'm eating a pizza (or today it was a Ruben sandwich!).  I gave into this voice two weeks ago...but to be fair there were some other things going on that day which were more powerful than simple petulance.  Since that time I've been determined to persevere.

I thought it would go away.  I thought it would get easier.  I thought my desire to reach the goal I have set for myself would blast out the obstinate toddler in my mind.  I thought the love I have of what I'm doing (swimming, biking, running) would outweigh my desires to sleep in, take naps, stay in my PJs all day, eat anything and everything and be LAZY.  But, the only time I really feel good is when the work is finished.  And...then I'm sad because I feel like I missed out on the joy of actually DOING the workout.  When it's over I find myself wanting to do MORE.

On the schedule for today was a swim workout (which I've done already) and a strength workout (which I haven't done yet).  I woke up excited to get to the pool (the idea of swimming)...but as I began getting my bag ready I started dwelling on all the things I don't like.  "...the water is going to be cold, I'm going to have a hard time breathing, it's going to be hard, I don't know if I can really do what's on the plan, it's going to take hours out of my day..."  When the time came, I practically had to make myself drive to the natatorium.  I could feel my inner brat getting wound up.  It started with a pout and ended with "her" looking like I did at my grandma's house--crying, fists and feet pounding, kicking and screaming "I DON'T WANNA'!!!".

And...I, like my aunt, casually ignored her, put on my suit and jumped in the water.  I wish I could say the conniption ended...but it didn't.  I pretty much had to force myself to get through all three sets of the workout....until the last fast 50.  And then, as usual....that bratty little girl in my mind looked up at me with a tear-stained face and said with a voice raspy from screaming, "Is that all??  Is it really over??  But I wanna do more!!  Can I do one more set??"  I just laughed and thought, "well...no...but you can go do your strength workout now..."

You guessed it...  "BUT I DON'T WANNA!!!"

((Yes...my mind really is that complicated, just ask my husband!!))

Thanks for stopping in...come again soon!

When I searched for a good picture, I came across this video...cracked me up, hope you think it's as funny as I do...

Thursday, January 26, 2012

This time next year...

I'm going to be getting all my stuff ready to run Mountain Mist.  I will have completed at least one half-iron, maybe more than that...maybe even a full iron!  I will have certainly completed another marathon (either stand-alone or after swimming 2.4 and biking 112).  I will have a daughter in college and be an "empty-nester".  I will have completed the Hood-to-Coast relay.  I will be a Personal Trainer and Spin instructor.  I may have sent in a video application to be on Survivor.  Who knows, maybe instead of getting my stuff ready to run Mountain Mist, I'll be packing to head out to an undisclosed location to duke it out with 38 other people for $1M and the title of SOLE SURVIVOR!!  :D

In order to make those things come true, I have to do what I need to do not what feels good.  ((Although I have to say when I've done what needed to be done, I ALWAYS feel GREAT afterwards!!))

Life is beyond good.

Thanks for stopping in, come again soon!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Falling on Deaf Ears

From THIS website
It's Tuesday and we're to the middle of "hell week" for the e3 Tribe.  Okay...we're 2 days in, it just feels like we're almost half way done.  ((That's how I get through harder workouts.  When I'm about 1/4-1/3 of the way finished I tell myself I'm "almost" 1/2 way...)) 

They call it "hell week" for a reason...it's hard.  And...I love it.  Last night when I went to the pool I didn't honestly think I would make it through the whole workout.  I kept wondering if they would have to close the whole thing down if I suddenly puked.  (I sure hope they would close the pool for something like that, but boy do I NOT want it to be because of ME!)

I'm having to daily remind myself WHY it is I'm doing this thing that is so HARD.  When I don't want to get my butt out the door to do my workout, when I think to myself I might want a rest day, when I feel like I need a little external motivation and can't seem to find any...I tell myself what Coach Eric has said time and time again...stop thinking and start doing.

...I stopped writing at that point and started doing something else...it's now Wednesday night...

Today when I drove to the pool I sat in the parking lot a couple of minutes telling myself, "GO IN AND GET IT DONE!!"  It was nice to remember "Reachdown's" blog post from yesterday, and Katie's post from several days back and to know I'm not alone in this struggle.

I was reading a Runner's world forum the other day...this person had written in asking for some help with motivation to continue training for a marathon.  My answer was basically that your motivation MUST come from within.  No one ever has to convince a crack addict to take a hit off the pipe!!  I particularly liked one guy's answer...don't consider it an option.  He linked a blog post he had written about it called "Do I Deserve a Night Off?"  The take away quote from the post:
There is a part of you that wants you to fail.  There is a part of you that wants you to sit on the couch, have a bowl of ice cream, and neglect all that you know is right.  DO NOT LISTEN TO THAT VOICE.
That is the hag in my head...and that voice is falling on deaf ears.  I can't say I'm fully listening to the cheerleader, but I'm doing my best to give 100% in every workout.  I'm frustrated because usually after the fact I don't think what I thought was 100% during the workout was really 100%...but the thing I'm trying to keep in mind is that things look very different after my heart rate has dropped and I'm drying off from the nice hot shower.  The voice I'm trying to hear is the one that's asking me, "ARE YOU GIVING IT ALL YOU'VE GOT RIGHT NOW??"  ...and then I try to give even more.
From THIS website

Thanks for stopping in...come again soon!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Get Coached!

I've said it before...I'll say it again.  Having a coach is so much better than going things alone.  I honestly believe I've had more gains (in fitness) in the last week with E3 Multisport than I would have had training a couple of months by myself.  I would not have even started the workouts I've completed and certainly not at the effort level I've given.  There's something to the accountability aspect of the relationship.

There's more to it than that.

The other day I read an article in the Huntsville Track Club Newsletter, by one of our founding members.  It was a "recycled" article he had written years ago concerning motivation.  I don't have the article in front of me so I can't quote it directly, but he made a point to talk about the mental motivation a coach provides.  It (mental motivation) is key to a person's success for anything they are trying to accomplish because our bodies follow our mind.  My mom has always said, "you can do anything you put your mind to" but I never  fully understood what she was saying until recently.

What can I say...I'm a Bama fan...
The thing is, it's not like someone who is overweight can produce the desired outcome by just THINKING "I'm going to lose weight".  Even with a "coach" telling them HOW to do it, if they aren't mentally committed to the process (not just the end result) they won't meet their goal. 

This is where the coach comes in.

A coach is someone who's been where you are (either in a more literal sense or even figuratively speaking).  A coach has done what it takes to get to where you want to be.  They have the tools to get you there and are an example of the thing you desire, and have the ability to lead you there too.

I recently had the privilege to "meet" a BeachBody coach, Todd Warren, who impressed the fire out of me.  I've seen so many before/after photos and videos they have all pretty much blurred together.  ((BTW, the reason the photos all look the same is because the booklet that comes with the DVDs tells you what pictures to take.)) 

No doubt, the results he was able to achieve were nothing short of amazing.  However, I think one of the main things that caught my attention about Coach Todd was the fact he sounded just like me.  Here are just a few quotes from his "about me" page:
...assumed that I didn’t have the type of body that could achieve the “after photo” results that we see on TV....I would get frustrated and diet for a month and hit the elliptical for 30 minutes a day, but I never changed my lifestyle...I was doing about 60%-70% of the workouts and my nutrition was not a #1 priority...
Although I'm not (currently) doing P90X, and can't (currently) use any of the supplements (because of my myriad of food allergies...although that is about to change with the debut of the new vegan Shakology), I really love Coach Todd's website RIPPEDCLUB.net because of articles like the ones he wrote recently on Getting Started Right and Nutrition.  Although there's a lot in the nutrition article that simply does not apply to an endurance athlete...the take-away quote from this article I want to tape to my refrigerator door is:
Its all about choices and whether or not you are willing to make the right choices that will propel you toward your goal.
If you're a triathlete with a goal of "maximizing your time - maximizing your goals - maximizing your performance" contact e3 Multisport.  If you're out of shape, and/or overweight (or maybe even under weight), and have a goal to "push your body to its limits and get RIPPED RESULTS" contact Coach Todd.  I'll make it super easy...here are links for you to
((For the record, I'm not related to Todd, have never met him in person, am not receiving any kind of compensation whatsoever for this post...like I said, he just really impressed me and this is my way of giving a big ol' HIGH FIVE to the RIPPEDCLUB!!  If what I wanted MOST was to get RIPPED, Coach Todd would be my go-to guy...as it is what I want most is best served by being part of the e3 Tribe!!))

Thanks for stopping in...come again soon!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

P90X turned into P2M

I'm continually reminding myself
Don't give up what you want most for what you (think you) want now.
When I set my goals for this year, I thought I would be training myself for my first half iron and thought it would be a great idea to add in P90X as strength training.  The way I saw it, having overall strength would help me quite a bit in the long run even if it meant my swim/bike/run workouts weren't killer. 

The couple of times I've started P90X in the past I have opted for the "Lean" schedule.  Basically it is more cardio heavy and is geared toward optimal fat burning.  This time around I decided to use the P90X Classic schedule of workouts since I was more focused on toning, okay, who am I kidding...building muscle.

Sunday I did the chest/back workout and Ab Ripper X.  Given the fact I haven't done any strength training since this time last year when I tried to add P90 into my routine, I ended up modifying quite a bit.  The biggest modification--I didn't do ANY pull ups (embarrassing but true).  Most of the exercises on that video are "maximum rep" meaning you do as many as you can and write it down so you will see your improvement over time.  In addition to every kind of pull up you can think of, there are SEVERAL different types of pushups (most of which I couldn't do more than ONE rep each) along with a handful of other exercises.

Monday my arms and chest were so incredibly SORE I had a little trouble swimming!!  ((Okay, I had trouble putting my deodorant on much less anything else!))  The P90 workout for the day was Plyometrics.   I had never done this workout before.  WOW...it's serious stuff!  I did better than what I expected, but still modified some things, and skipped the "bonus" workout at the end altogether.  

That afternoon I received my first week's training plan from E3 Multisport which included some strength training.   I called Coach Eric and asked him if I could add P90X into the plan he gave me.  He basically told me it was up to me, but after some discussion and soul searching I decided I needed to make a choice.

While I remain convinced strength training is more than just a little worthwhile...P90X is more than "simple" strength training.  It's SERIOUS.  If my race were in October I might possibly choose to do P90X now and start training for the race afterward, but that's not the case...my A race is in April.  Knowing what ongoing training with damaged muscles does to your body, I have decided to give up what I want now (to have RIPPED muscles and a body fat percentage in the single digits) for what I want MOST--to have a great race at IM70.3 NOLA. 

Thanks for stopping in, come again soon!

**For anyone who doesn't know...P90X is "90" days of X-treme workouts...P2M was 2 days of modified exercises!**

Monday, January 9, 2012

Training With the Tribe

If you've been reading my blog for long, you've heard a lot about E3 MultisportCoach Eric was over the Tri201 training program I participated in last summer in preparation for the Rocket Man Olympic distance tri.  I can't say enough good things about the level of coaching I received in this program.  I started the season as a timid tri participant and finished feeling like I was able to own the label TriATHLETE.

Saturday night (the DAY BEFORE the start of my 2012 tri-training season) I made the decision to officially train with the E3 Multisport Tribe!!  It was an instant mental transformation for me.  I woke up Sunday morning ready to tackle my planned 45 minute run.  It was planned out, basically, as a progressively faster run.  Every time my watch beeped at me signalling an increase in pace I heard a start gun in my head and gave it 100% effort level the whole time.  During the last hard effort, when I was tempted to slow down several times, I could hear Eric telling me, "only X minutes/seconds to go" causing me to push through the mental barriers that would have certainly weighed me down if I had to answer only to myself at the end of the day!

Even more exciting for me than working once again with Eric is the opportunity to work with (his wife) Coach Karen!!  I had the joy of running a couple of times with her during our training and have spent some time with her socially but haven't yet had a coach/athlete relationship with her.  She is ALWAYS smiling and has the sweetest and most positive disposition of just about anyone I know.  But...not only that...she is an AMAZING athlete.  She graced the podium at every race I saw her compete in over the summer with humility that is rare of a competitor of her ability.  The chance to glean knowledge from her has me just about giddy with excitement.  (Yes, I'm a dork...but really, anyone who loves anything should feel like this given the change to work with someone who is great at that particular thing...while Coach Karen isn't Chrissie Wellington...she's certainly an AMAZINGLY accomplished triathlete having completed multiple full-distance tris (as well as every distance up to it).)

Yes, I'm gushing...but only because of my excitement about what this opportunity will mean for my 2012 tri season.  When I set up my training plan for the IM 70.3 race in NOLA on April 22nd, my only goal was to complete it and still be able to walk around afterward.  I'm not going to lie...the bar has just been moved WAY up from there.  THAT is precisely what coaching should do for an athlete--give her not only accountability (as I said earlier) but also high goals to shoot for.  More than that, though, good coaching gives an athlete TOOLS which can be used to accomplish those goals.

I feel like I've just been moved up to the adults' table at the family Christmas dinner!!

Not me or my family...picture taken from HERE.

I said it before...I'll say it again 2012 is going to ROCK!!!

Thanks for stopping in...come again soon!!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Looking Ahead, But Not Too Far

You shouldn't focus so far out you miss what's right in front of you...
As I said, Monday I had planned on running nine miles of trails with a group.  I thought I understood where we were meeting, and looked forward to the route I believed we were going to take.  As it turned out...I had never been where we went.

When I'm running on trails I'm not familiar with, I pretty much look at what's right in front of me in any given moment, focusing on where my feet will land next, with an occasional scan ahead to see what's coming up in my near future.   I have to stay short-sighted, without any thought to what might be waiting for me later on (a monstrous hill or perhaps a smooth decline where I'll be able to relax and just mindlessly RUN).  It's very different from running in familiar territory (where I can anticipate obstacles and challenges), or even on unfamiliar roads (where it's usually smooth, allowing me to set goals for myself to reach--run to that mail box, speed up down this hill).

For me, this year will be like running on completely new trails.  Whereas this time last year I was planning out goals for the full calendar, this time around there are too many unknown variables in my life for me to plan that far in advance.  Monday, I believed I'd have time (and ability) to run nine miles with the group.  As it turned out I only got in 3.5.  Several things happened to prevent me from finishing what I originally thought might happen, but because I held on to my highest priorities, I was able to accomplish what I wanted to. ((Details of this are on the last post, written in blue.))

One of the problems I've had in the past is not making decisions about what I ultimately want causing me to change course mid stream because I hadn't clearly targeted where I was going.  Another huge problem is giving up on what I want because getting there is too hard, or will take too long.  Monday might have appeared as though either of those things were going on to the people I was running with, however the truth is, I knew what my goals were for the day ((again...details on the last post written in blue.))  Running those trails with them was a delicious add on (like whip cream on a latte!)  And...the "whip cream add-on"--trying to add too many goals to my plan--is another weakness I have.

So...with those dangers in mind (not making decisions about what I want to do, giving up on what I ultimately want, and adding too many things to the list) I am looking ahead at 2012.  I plan to:
  • consistently work toward my goals, even if that means allowing the iron to get red-hot in the fire.  The difficulty with this will be knowing what pieces to work (goals to work toward) and which ones to stick back into the fire.  (See my last post if this doesn't make sense.)
  • add P90X to my training plan for strength workouts.  I wanted to do this last year and tried for a while, but it became too hard to manage.  The difficulties with this will be scheduling (there are only so many hours in a day), and making sure I get enough (quality) calories to support all the work.
  • follow the training plan I have outlined from now til my first half iron race (April 22), maintain my fitness level (coast) until after my daughter graduates from high school in May and THEN make decisions about the rest of the year/what comes next.
  • come up with a nutrition plan so I don't end up drinking a venti soy latte for breakfast and eating potato chips for lunch (as I have done today).
Here are the races I have planned:
  • McKay Hollow Madness -- March 24th.  With that in mind, I hope to run most of my longer runs on trails.
  • IM70.3 NOLA -- April 22nd.  With that in mind, I have a detailed training plan on my Training Peaks calendar that starts Sunday (January 8th) and runs through race day.
  • Frank Maples -- ??.  I'm not sure when this one is, but I know I want to race it this year.
  • Cotton Row -- May 28th.  Time goal: under an hour.
  • Wet Dog -- July 14th.  Time goal:  better than last year! :D
  • Hood to Coast -- August 25th.  Time goal:  every leg with an average pace under 9:30.
  • Frantic Frog -- September 8th.  Time goal:  better than last year.
  • MAYBE Beach to Battleship -- October 20th.  I'm going to wait to pull the trigger on this until after IM NOLA.
  • Turkey Chase -- November 22.  I'm a streaker on this one (I've done it every year it's existed) so this one will certainly be on the list.  Time goal:  Sub 23:30 and beat my husband who has said he will run it this year!! :D

Thanks for stopping in, come again soon...I have a few more irons in the fire I'll tell you about in the coming weeks.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!  2012 is going to ROCK!!

Irons in the Fire

I've been getting completely overwhelmed lately with all that will be happening this year, sometimes close to sheer panic-attack state.  My baby (the youngest of two) will be graduating from high school and going away to college.  This, in and of itself, is huge.  However, on top of that I have some irons in the fire that are beginning to get red-hot and ready for shaping, and have many more irons I'd like to forge.**
If you aren't familiar with the expression "irons in the fire"...Blacksmiths traditionally worked iron into shape by hammering. The iron being worked would be heated in the fire until it was red-hot and malleable. The Smith removes the iron from the fire and shapes it with repeated blows from a hammer. They need to work quickly before the iron cools. Once the iron is cool, it becomes brittle and cannot be hammered.

Once removed from the fire, the iron cools quickly. It takes longer to heat the iron to red-hot than it takes for it to cool. Blacksmiths work more efficiently by having multiple pieces of iron in the fire heating simultaneously. In that way, the Smith can always have a piece of iron red-hot and ready for hammering. The cooled piece would be returned to the fire if it needed more hammering.

As I sit here trying to write up the post about my goals for the year...I'm struggling just like I did Monday when I was trying to plan out my day.  Because I'm a verbal processor and need to talk (write) to help me sort out my thoughts (rather than thinking through things then talking about them)...I have a need to talk through (write about) my goals before I can figure out what they are!!

First, let me tell you what happened Monday, mainly because I see it as a microcosm of the bigger picture of what's going on in my mind about this coming year and I think it will help me work through making my plans.  The following is a peek into the inner workings of my brain...it's about as direct as the route home Billy would take when he was told to come straight home!  Feel free to skip on down past this center section to the rest of the actual post!! :D

I had several competing "goals" for the day.  There were so many things I wanted to see happen I knew they couldn't all be accomplished so I had to therefore mark some things off the list.  The unabridged plan was:
  • spend time with my husband (who was off work) before I went out of town for 2 days
  • spend time with a friend
  • go see another friend and her kids who I haven't gotten to see in a while
  • get to where I was going to be staying for the night early enough to work out with another friend (who I was spending the night with)
  • get a work out in at some point during the day (maybe in the gym with my friend)
  • be somewhat made up (as opposed to sticking my ponytail in a hat and not wearing make up)
  • pick up something I had ordered from a store in Little Rock (on the way to where I was going) before the store closed
  • go to the post office to mail a package
  • not get stressed out by all the stuff on my list
  • clean my house before I went out of town
As I worked though this impossible list, I had to decide what what MOST important to me.  That was excruciatingly hard because they were all a priority for the day or they wouldn't have made the list in the first place.  (I mean, I want to make a scrapbook for my daughter and sew a new comforter for my bed, but those weren't on the list because they keep getting pushed aside to make room for other things.) 

I painfully decided I wouldn't go see the friend and her kids even though I hadn't seen them in a while and decided cleaning house wasn't going to happen either.  I decided getting to my friend's house early enough to work out with her wasn't realistic because it meant having to leave around 7:30 and that would eliminate the feasibility of too many other things on the list.   In order to help the "not get stressed out" goal, I paid some extra money to print postage from home to mail my package, which saved me a trip (and precious time). 

As far as the work out goes, I had originally planned to swim at 5 (which means getting stuff ready the night before and getting up at 4:30ish), however that was going to conflict with my plan to spend time with my husband.  (I knew the best time to spend with him was going to be first thing in the morning before we both got our days going.)  At the same time, swimming would have allowed me to shower and get ready there and give me time with my friend and get me on the road early.

Priorities.  Spending time with my husband was more important than what workout I was going to do...in fact it was the most important thing on the list, even though I do it every day (which is precisely WHY I make a point to spend time with him every day--not just merely exist with him).  Swimming was replaced by running (since it was WAY too cold for me to bike and I don't yet have a trainer).  Okay...the plans for my day were taking shape finally!!

The options of where and how far to run seemed endless and then the 9 mile trail run was posted on FaceBook.  It started at 7, my friend said she could meet up at 9.  In my mind I would get a good run in, meet my friend, and then decide just how important it was for me to be made up before I started my trip out of town.  Nine miles could surely easily be done in two hours.  I was feeling pretty darn good as I left the house in plenty of time.  Well...my first mistake was thinking I knew where we were meeting.  When no one showed up I realized I didn't.

In an effort not to make this already long story longer, I won't go into the fine details of the run.  Suffice it to say: I was in the wrong place, got to the right place late, decided to run on my own, met up with the group...and realized very quickly there was NO WAY I would get 9 miles in before I needed to meet up with my friend.  After slightly over 3 miles (and at a spot very close to the parking lot), I decided to call it a work out finished and "quit".

I was then able to get home, get showered and "made up" to a decent level, and meet up with my friend (although I was late because I was searching for the confirmation sheet for the item I needed to pick up in Little Rock-which I never found but ultimately didn't need).  After a relaxing chat, I was on the road in plenty of time to pick up my item and get to my friend's house.  


So as I sit here and try to think through all the things I hope to get accomplished this year, with all the unknowns about what could happen to thwart the plans I want to make, it's a bit overwhelming (REREAD FIRST SENTENCE OF THIS POST and you will see I'm right back where I started although I've taken a trip around the world in my mind!!)

The thing I love about analogies is that they usually help me see some things that are harder for me to comprehend when I'm looking at the actual thing.  As I think through how a blacksmith forges iron...he never attempts to shape it when it's cold.  He allows the iron to become red-hot before he works it with his various tools.  One long term goal I have is to complete a full IronMan (2.4 miles swim, 112 miles bike and 26.2 miles run)...but I know I'm not REDy for that quite yet--so that iron will stay in the fire for now.

The blacksmith also knows what he will shape each piece of iron into before he starts.  Unlike Michelangelo, who didn't believe he determined the sculpture but only set what was already there free, I believe a blacksmith molds the iron into the shape he wants using various tools in order to achieve the desired outcome (which he has determined in advance).   The key to both paths, I believe, are the tools being used to get there and the raw material being started with.  I have a decent base for a half iron, but I do have to plan what tools I will use to train for it, and utilize them in an appropriate way.

The blacksmith also knows how fast iron cools and that he has a limited time to work before he has to put the piece back into the fire (lest it turn brittle and break).  I'm seeing several irons in the fire which are ready to be worked, I just have to plan out which piece to hammer on at any given time.  Whereas a runner might be likened to a blacksmith who "only" shapes horseshoes, a triathlete shapes their iron into something else totally different.  I need to see how each piece (each workout) will fit into the bigger picture of what I'm hoping to accomplish.  ((That's pretty darn tough for me to do alone but I don't have the luxury right now of hiring a tri coach.))

What I'm hoping to make from my "horseshoes"!