Exceed Your Limits!

One Step and One Day at a Time!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Patience, Respect, and Perseverance leading to Sustainability

I have been thinking a lot about where I am right now and how I want the next few months to play out.  For my brain and personality, it is important for me to see measurable results or progress and equally important for me to evaluate my goals frequently to stay on track.  It is just how my brain works.  I am already in a bit of a rut - an enjoyable rut, with lots planned for training (both formal and informal) but I have an itch to see where this is all going.  Thinking about waiting until the end of July to see it all put together in a formal race is just killing me!

So, I am considering adding an earlier race.  A pace setting exercise.  An exercise to set a baseline from which to move forward.  I am ready to see some results here, but I don't want to rush to be set back by an injury.

My thoughts have centered around these three things:  Patience, Respect, and Perseverance. 

Patience:  I lack this in most areas of my life, but most of all when considering patience with myself.  I want to excel, exceed expectations, and, frankly, shine!  I struggle to maintain patience to just let the training process move forward.  This can be an issue in any physical goal.  For example, you want to finish a 30 minute jog, you want to see some of your abs emerge after countless crunches, you want to see the pounds come off on the scale.  But, the bottom line is you need patience sometimes.  It doesn't happen overnight.  Our society, particularly with the reality TV side of weight loss, is geared to think it is some magical transformation that literally happens overnight or, perhaps even in the hour it takes to watch the standard TV show on the topic.  Our minds are bombarded with quick fixes, but in reality, there are none.  So, part of my analysis in deciding whether to add another race will be to look at whether my desire to register comes from a lack of patience.

Respect:  Respect the sport and respect the efforts of those who are successful in the sport.  In my situation, I need to continually remind myself to respect the sport.  It is challenging and requires work to get the ultimate reward: crossing a finish line. I firmly believe you need to respect the discipline you are trying to master and the costs of mastering it.  If you fail to respect it, well, in turn it will not respect you, or your body, and injury will result.  For example, I used to think the swim would be easy.  After all, I swam all the time when I was younger, I trained lifeguards on a lake waterfront, I was trained to dive by a Navy dive instructor that was insistent on strong swimming skills.  But then I saw my first race with the open water swim and the toll it took on good athletes particularly under rough conditions.  I got in the pool and realized just how hard it was and how far behind I was from the moderately strong swimmers.  I have a lot more respect for the swim now, and, frankly, it is rewarding me with measurable progress.  It is a strange concept, but it is the best way to describe it.  Further, respect those that are participating and successful in the sport or activity.  Don't compare yourself to others.  Don't rush to do it and register to prove something to someone else.  Do it for yourself (thereby respecting yourself) and respect the fact that others are out there conquering it through hard work and determination.  Disrespecting the efforts of others and taking an attitude that is disrespectful of their time and energy will only hurt you, through injury and mental anguish, in the end.  When I talk to myself about respecting others efforts and hard work, it is not in the context that I can't accomplish it, but just that I need to put in the work required of ME to do so and not base it on others.  Work on MY weaknesses, embrace MY strengths, and cross the finish line for me.  To do it for any other reason will only result in registration fees paid for races that are never run.  So, my analysis right now is if I move forward with an earlier race, am I still respecting the sport and respecting the efforts of others that have them racing right now.

Perseverance:  Is my desire to move forward to a formal race formed out of true readiness or just a lack of perseverance to follow the process necessary to get there.  It is hard to continue to push through sometimes.  To keep going 6 days a week on a building training plan requires true perseverance when the shining moment to see how it all pays off is 6 weeks away (and I have already been doing this for months).  So, my analysis here is to question whether I am just lacking the mental state to persevere or am I truly ready to enter a formal race. 

I am not sure, yet, how to answer these questions above, but I do think this is something to examine no matter what your goals when you start to question the value of what you are doing and where you are taking it.  Of course, as I was thinking of this I get an email from one of the people I respect the most in the sport saying "Go for it, you are more than ready!"  I need to make a decision soon, but will take the time to evaluate it appropriately.  I want this lifestyle I am creating to be sustainable, and I hope my considerations of the above points will lead to that sustainability in the end.

What am I missing here in my considerations?  Or, am I, in my usual style, just over thinking it?  (and, yeah, it has been one of those "reflection" days!)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Turning It Around and The Things They Say

I am the queen of negative self-speak - meaning most things I think in my head about myself are negative.  I always take the glass half full approach in evaluating myself.  It is not healthy, and has been something I have struggled with my whole life.  It can, and often does, sabotage my goals.  So, in an effort to not do that, I am practicing a little "turn it around." I am going to post some of it here to get it out there and keep myself accountable.  I would love to hear some of my readers do the same in comments below!  Turn it around is to actually write out (or say) that negative thought and turn it into a positive one.  When I do that I can usually turn the negative attitude or thought into something that motivates me onward toward my goals.

1.  My training is taking away time from my family and that makes me a bad parent.  Turning it around:  Yes, I do lose some time with my family, but the positive impacts have been enormous and measurable.  For example, my oldest daughter, now 5, wants to do a kids triathlon this year.  My youngest daughter, now 2.5 years, sat down next to me while I was stretching for my run last weekend.  After coming out of my stretch I look over and she is doing the exact same stretch as I was doing, and correctly I might add.  Children learn by example, and what a great example I can provide.  And, I am much more patient, happy, and available to my children when I am with them when I feel energized and mentally rested from a good workout. 

2.  I didn't plan my summer/season well enough and now am left with a gap and lack of motivation to carry me through to my first race.  Turning it around:  I planned my summer conservatively and with a respect for my time and physical abilities at the time I sat down to plan.  I have actually exceeded the limited expectations I had for myself and now may be able to throw in an early race.  I should be proud of working so hard to do so and look for the best way to adjust the season to get it done!

3.  I STILL haven't broken the 30 minute mark on the 5K and probably never will at this rate.  Turning it around:  I have come a long way for this non-runner.  And, I am soooooo close to breaking that time and just need to keep working at it.  My form and endurance on a run (read:  my joint pain) is so much better and I actually almost like it now.  By my first race I am sure I will be there, if not well below there.  And, I have no where to go but faster, right?

So, those are the top three for me today - the list is long, but I will leave it there.  Anyone care to join me?  I would love to hear you all "turn it around."  It is a fun exercise really, and hopefully will become a habit for me so I stop sabotaging myself!

AND - another one of my favorite things:  The things they say!  By that I mean the things my kids say, which usually crack me up.  Here I will pretty much keep this to the subject of this blog, or else I could spend hours writing out all the incredibly insightful, and hilarious, things my two oldest kids say!

Anyway, I told my oldest daughter I was going to train again for a race this year.  She complains "awwwww" as she hugs my thigh - "then you won't be squishy anymore!"  I just busted out laughing.  I promised her that I would probably remain somewhat "squishy."  I mean I AM 40!  Anyway, it just made me laugh.  (of course I was also thinking "SERIOUSLY?  I have somehow been blessed to get 15 lbs UNDER where I was when I got pregnant in less than 7 months and she calls me 'SQUISHY'?")  Gotta love the kiddos!  Feel free to share some of your little ones' insights!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Power of a Uniform!

As some may remember, I joined a Triathlon team in 2010 but two months in I found out I was expecting my third child.  Well, to make a long story short, I joined again this year.  Being part of that network has been so inspiring and led to some great opportunities to learn, workout, and just break out of my shell with regard to training.  It has been the best decision I could have made, for my personality, for training for multisport races.  The goals I have through this team keep me going and keep me accountable.  Being part of a team is priceless for me.

Well, my uniform arrived today.  My wonderful husband was kind enough to send me a picture at work to keep me motivated, and I can't tell you how excited I am and how proud I will be to wear it.  Here it is in all its glory:

Maybe I will have enough courage to get a picture of me in it to post as well (I am still working on coming out of that shell!)

For local readers who are interested in joining a fun group of people interested in multisport, check out Raise the Bar!

Where do we go from here?

I know, I have been gone a LONG time.  Let's just say adjusting to three little kiddos has been, well, a tough adjustment.  We have had a lot of changes at home other than our little/not so little addition, too much to go into here, but they have really taken a lot of time to iron out.

On a good note, I have returned to training, with a 5K anticipated in July, my first official tri in July, a second in August, and possibly a third in September.  And......wait for it......a half marathon on the registration books for May 2012!  With all that, I figured I had better get my butt in gear if I want to survive this season!  But, more on that later (much more!).

I want to start my return with some thoughts on what this blog is about - essentially, why am I here?  I have done a lot of blog cruising for about a month.  I wanted to get a feel for what is out there, what do people blog about, what do I want to blog about, and who else blogs about what I want to blog about.  Make sense?  Well, it did to me at the time.  Also, I needed to figure out why having this blog was important to ME!  Not that my current readers or future readers won't shape the life of the blog, but for me to stick with it it must be something that is important to ME and furthers MY training and life, otherwise, I just won't be able to put my heart into it and it won't be all that interesting to anyone. 

So, to start, what is it that this blog IS? 

  • I want to be able to chronicle my journey to something I think is pretty great:  achieving some fairly aggressive goals for taking my life back through physical fitness while juggling the everyday commitments and struggles of being a parent and being a working parent.  I firmly believe that there are many many parents or even adults without children struggling with exactly the same things I struggle with daily, sometimes more so than I do, and I think I am beginning to find ways to deal with those struggles and I would like to share them with others.
  • I want to write about and share ideas on items I am passionate about:  finding health and fitness as a parent, with my family, and having that become a lifestyle that we live by without thinking about it.
  • I want to motivate other people to take charge of their health and lifestyle and feel good about it in a way that is theirs to choose and suits their individual circumstances.  I want to empower people with knowledge and the self confidence to do it now rather than later (or even before it is too late).
  • I want to be held accountable.  This is selfish, but writing here helps me be accountable. If I write it, I visualize it.  If I visualize it, I WILL DO IT!
And, what this blog IS NOT:

  • This is not a self promotion, or worse, a delusional attempt to be someone else.  I have seen some great blogs in my research, but I have also seen some that are an attempt to become something that one is not.  Or attempts to live in the past, being someone one used to be.  I have seen a lot of half truths, or worse, bold faced lies and I refuse to go there.  If I can't be myself and be honest with myself, and therefore my readers, then this blog has no worthwhile take away message for anyone.
  • This blog is not a judgment on others as to how they live their lives.  I am in NO position to judge anyone for their choices.  In my life, I have a rule:  I don't judge others unless it has a direct impact on me and my children.  So, for instance, I don't judge a drug addict, unless it impacts me or my children.  If someone brings drugs into my life or my children's life, I have a right to be judgmental and prevent it.  Otherwise, it is their choice and they must live with the consequences.  Same here, I strive to be non-judgmental in my opinions.  As I write this, however, I realize what a difficult task that will be.
So, there we have it - some goals and "un-goals."  Now, all I can hope for is the time to share my thoughts, goals, ideas, failures, and successes.  I can't wait to get back to some substantive posts and some fun ways to work through all the challenges of this journey!