Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Against the Wind





4am...one nasty alarm that required my FIST to turn it off...UGH...REALLY?? 4am???  I'm use to 5 or even 6 but 4am.  YIKES...

But today offered an opportunity worthy of that alarm.  After months of training, I was going to get to do a MOCK triathlon on the Rocketman Triathlon course in Titusville with my Tri with Sway Triathlon Team.  I rolled out of bed, grabbed my coffee and my gear and off I went.

A stormy morning produced rain as I made my way to the Space Coast.  Precipitation really doesn't bother me during a race as long as it isn't a "toad strangler".  This was gentle easy rain...and a light breeze...or so I thought.

I always learn from every workout. Whether I learn I'm getting stronger or faster...or I learn I need to focus on a weakness, workouts are a great opportunity to find out what you are really made of.  Most people think that racing is that time...for me...racing is the victory lap.....it's GETTING to the race that makes you who you are.  It's the long miles alone...in the dark.  It's the cold pool at 5am or the dark lake with one single light on the opposite side that is  your only "goal" for the day.  It's very simple: Train Hard...Race Easy.

So today was no exception to that rule.  A swim that should have been easy for me turned into a wave in the face, ingested sea water and a moment of "feeding the fish" .. if you get my drift.  Once out of the water, I was feeling ok, but a 35 mile bike awaited me....and today..that was my proving ground.

We road out to the Canaveral National Seashore.  There was LOTS of wildlife including a few snakes and some buzzards who had to be reminded that I wasn't dead YET.  But it wasn't until a turn inside the state park that put me directly into a headwind...a STRONG headwind...that I started to get that lesson.

My speed slowed to a crawl.  My legs ached.  I wanted to cry.  I wanted to stop.  I wanted to pick up my phone and call Sway to come pick me up because I was DONE. Somewhere, however, something in my head pushed me forward. It kept me moving even when all of me wanted to stop

Don't get me wrong...I have a great team.  They would speed by me and give me encouragement.  Coach Cherie and Coach Trung both cheered for me as they saw me struggling...that is worth so much...but...it was that voice in my head...to keep going...to keep pushing...to keep at it.

And I did.

After what felt like 20 miles but was only 5 to 7 miles in the direct headwind, we came to the turn around point and WOW...that wind was now at my back.  I was FLYING.  I don't look at my Garmin when I ride...I just RIDE...and with the wind at my back...I felt like a pro cyclist...a really GOOD pro cyclist.

But isn't this the way life is?? Isn't this how we learn and grow??  If we don't have those moments of utter pain and frustration and if we do not endure those times of complete hardship, we can not fully appreciate the joy of the good moments.  How do you fully appreciate the finish line if you don't put the work in to GET THERE?  

So, for most triathletes, a 35 miles bike would be a minor event but for me, today taught me so much.  Just get through the tough stuff...it's gonna be better on the other side....

My thanks to the entire Tri with Sway team who always encourages me every step of the way....

192 days until Ironman Florida

Monday, April 15, 2013

When the "After" is worse than the "Before"

Ever hear news that makes you want to sit down and ponder your life?  When I do,  you will usually  find me here, on this blog, pouring out my thoughts because...well...it's cheaper than my therapist :)

In all seriousness, I'm sure other people use different ways of dealing with a down moment in their lives: meditation, prayer, a long run, a hard workout. I actually use all of these...plus the ones you shouldn't use like opening the refrigerator and saying "Yes..all of that will do just nicely"...(that one I'm happy to say is pretty much part of my past...)

Yesterday, I had a wonderful day with some caring folks who are on a journey to get healthy..and leaner...and stronger.  You noticed I didn't say they were on a "diet"... because changing eating habits and what you eat isn't a temporary thing...its a permanent thing.  I learned a lot for these folks and we ate a meal together of good stuff....totally cool.

As I arrived home, I had an email that put life in perspective.  The news was not good. A friend of mine that had been battling her weight since the late 90's committed suicide.  She left a note saying she just couldn't deal with it anymore....the struggling with food...the battling of other addictions (including alcohol) had just taken over and it was easier to let go than to go on.

Wow. 

So you sit down and try to comprehend that feeling.  Ive been there...but not that deep.  I know what it feels like to be out of control....it's like rolling a snowball down a hill....it gets bigger and bigger until you just can't stop it...and it takes on a life of it's own.

But here's the secret....YOU CAN STOP IT...

When we realize there are so many more victories with the fight with food than just the scale...we win.    Everyone focuses on the "Before" and "After " pictures but there are many more important issues way beyond those. The mere decision to change one behavior...one choice....one cardio step outside is a victory...that makes that snowball roll a little slower.  And as we make more of those choices...that snowball stops rolling...and starts to melt...and the hope of being the person you KNOW you can be shines through.  It was always there...you just have to get through all the "bad" stuff to find it.

I think there should be "During" pictures with the "Before" and "Afters"...because...honestly...that's where the work gets done.

What more do you say??  I pray for her family who has lost someone dear but that seems so empty.  My husband says the best we can do is prove that there is that hope...that peace....that special feeling of accomplishment if we are just willing to get through all the bad stuff...

one step, one pedal, one stroke, one hour .. one accomplishment at a time....


In Memory of Marie...

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Going "All In"

For those of you who play poker or have been to Vegas, this term may be familiar.  Going "all in"...simply means you push ALL you chips into the pot and wager your entire pile of chips on the current hand of cards you are holding.  

Well..recently...I thought about this concept and how it applied to my life, to marriage, to family, to my health...and of course...to Ironman. 

 I have been married almost 28 years. My husband was in the military and 3 weeks before we were to get married, he got injured during training and also scored poorly on a navigation exam.  He had a choice: leave flight training and go into the "sea" Navy or to get out and become a civilian.  With 3 weeks left before we said "I do", he took the more difficult choice and left the military.  He had 24 hours to get a job or my father would not allow him to marry me...he got a job as a pizza delivery guy.  He pushed all his chips in...and off we went on our marital journey....He went all in. (and took a chance with a crazy woman like me).

Fifteen years ago, I had the opportunity to be part of a clinical trail involving the gastric bypass.  At that point, no one had ever heard of such a thing.  The surgery was a full open procedure (not lapriscopic like it is now),  took 6 hours and, in super morbidly obese people like me, 1 in 4 survived.  I thought about my options...my weight was killing me...or I had a chance at a new life with the weight gone.  I decided to take the chance...I went all in...and I have lead an incredible life in the past 15 years full of adventures, triathlon, marathons, adventure races and travel.  If I hadn't taken the chance, I wouldn't have experienced all these things.

So, as we approach just 200 days prior to Ironman Florida, I took inventory of what I was doing to go "all in" on this race that I wish to complete.  I have found the perfect coaches in Consuela Lively, Trung Lively and Cherie Shook.  I have been consistent in my training (notice I didn't say perfect..I said consistent)...I have gotten the proper equipment, signed up for the race...and Im working towards my goal.

The only think holding me back from the "all in" bet would be my eating and nutrition.  As I have written previously, I have been struggling with my compliance with food and eating normal meals and keeping snack foods out of my life.  It is my major stumbling block.

So ....  I somehow have to get back on the path so I can push those chips in on the final bet of Ironman Florida.  I have decided that this will be my final attempt at the Ironman distance (I have tried 2 other times). It's now or never.  I have to keep reminding myself that the only thing holding me back is my hand, my mouth and my fork.  Is this dream worth giving it all...making a sacrifice to be stronger, leaner and faster???

Some how...some way....I gotta go all in....