adventures of a mere mortal in fitness and life

Posts tagged ‘family’

attitude of gratitude

I went to visit a friend who had to have emergency surgery this week over what is a pretty much a freak occurrence that could have happened to anyone.  She’s on the road to recovery, but it stopped me in my tracks (once again) about how many things in my life for which I am grateful.

Many of us, including myself, take for granted the bazillion wonderful things that we have or experience in our lives on a daily basis.  One of the biggest shifts in my life growing into maturity was to stop looking at things from what I call the “deficit perspective”.  As a young  (immature…selfish…childish…) adult, I bemoaned the fact that I didn’t have money to travel to Europe, or take an unpaid internship, or get a new car.  It felt like “everyone” else got to do these things (which wasn’t really true) and I didn’t.  And I had a lot of very special things given to me or shared with me by my family, so I am not really sure where that feeling came from.

What I did come to realize over time is that I had so many wonderful things in my life that were so much more important than backpacking through Europe.  I had a wonderful husband, a great family, steady work, a place to live, and eventually, healthy children.  I live in a beautiful place that others envy, we have jobs that fulfill us, and while we can’t say yes to everything we want, we certainly aren’t destitute.

So when things get hard, as they certainly did this week while changing our lives around, I have to be mindful of how grateful I am for life, and for the life I get to live in particular.  I am so damn lucky, so when setbacks occur, I remember to stay positive.  And I try not to think things like how life could be so much worse, or think about what I don’t have, but just simply try to be grateful for every gift I have been given- family, friends, fulfilling work, a beautiful home, and my own body.  I remember to be thankful that I am able-bodied, and that got me through a lot of tough workouts this summer, and I know it will come in handy again, probably soon (yikes!).  I have to walk the talk every day, because (as cliché as it sounds) I only have one opportunity to live this life.  And I am very happy to be able to do it.

gratitude quote

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Is it all about the journey?

Sarah and my dear friend Lauren enjoying the ride!

On the eve of my birthday, I think it’s hilarious (now that I have had a “few” if you catch my drift) that my husband just admitted that the hotel in which we are “holed up” (and truly, it may not be safe to set foot outside) is on the top 10 worst places he has ever stayed.  This comes from a man who believes that getting the best deal may be the most important feature of a hotel.  I have watched him pay $26 in South Lake Tahoe (in season), and argue at $49 for the last room on a hot summer night in Missoula, Montana.  He might be right about this place-I mean, when have you last been in a hotel where the phone doesn’t work?  One could argue that moments like these remind us that it’s all about the JOURNEY… or is it?

Christine and I have this running argument about whether life/training/work/ etc. is indeed all about the journey.  She argues that the “journey” is all crap, and it’s about going all out, all the time.  Which I have to say served me pretty well in my race when I knew I had to go all out.  And if you treat life like a race, you are always going all-out.  I feel like I spent a good portion of this past semester going “all-out” to make sure I did well at everything I did.  Did I enjoy the journey? Not always.  Did I accomplish a lot?  You bet I did.  I taught 11 credits (4 shy of a “full load”); did my stay-at-home mom thing with the girls on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays; got an “A” in my math class; created my adult instructor portfolio for state review; served on a brand new college-wide committee; lost 30 pounds; and trained for a triathlon.  The journey wasn’t always pretty to look at–sometimes I had to focus on going “balls to the wall” so I could keep my head above water.  Maybe without that mentality, I might not have made it this semester.

  But there are times I see value in the “journey” theory.  Trainer Guy and I had a good treadmill confessional about this theory before I left.  I need to take things for what they are, and deal with them as they are, and learn how to react differently than how I used to.  I see value in viewing things and events as “just things” or from a “best light” angle, instead of focusing in on how shitty or horrible something is going to be.  We have had some news in our family recently that really shows me how my thinking has changed.  Instead of freaking out and getting upset, I could look at the news more objectively, focus on what needed to be done, and hope for positive outcomes.  Instead of worrying that the worst case might happen, I didn’t worry at all, and the best possible outcome (out of a few bad choices, let’s be honest) was the case. 

I am curious as to how others think about adversity or challenge.  I recently read the book Who Moved My Cheese?  to review it for a class I am teaching this summer.  One of the posts from the littlepeople in the book was “What Would You Do If You Were Not Afraid?”  This really stuck with me during my race, and I think it will continue to move with me as I make decisions going forward.  Let me know what your best ideas for dealing with difficult situations are- do you relish “the journey” or say screw it and go all-out?

my road crew in action…Pacific Coast Highway, CA

Of course, it’s much easier to see the best possible outcome when you went ahead and booked the nicest hotel in the next town…just to be on the safe side.  I won’t tell him until we’re almost there– I want to enjoy tomorrow’s journey too, ya know.  😉

Race Recap: IronGirl Lake Las Vegas

Whoo-hoo! Glad I can put that one in the books because if I had to wait one more day to race, my husband probably would have smothered me in my sleep.  Yes, I was that annoying and keyed-up. By the time we got to Vegas, I kind of just wanted to get it done with!  But things were looking up by the time we walked into the Westin to pick up my race packet and rack my bike– something I have never done the day before a race.  Finally Meghan had gone to the bathroom (she has an intense fear of automatic toilets), and the hundreds of women strolling about with their bikes and other cool stuff just put me in a  good mood.  In fact, looking at other people’s fancy bikes puts me in a good mood.  I am (finally) starting to learn about bike components and stuff, so it’s cool to see what others have, and to see if the bike matches the person.  I think mine does, if I am going for the “mom off the couch into a sprint triathlon look”:

not my bike, but pretty much it

So…I know, on with it!

We woke up at the crack of dawn for the 6:30 race start.  The whole family had to come since we were staying in Henderson and the race was in Lake Las Vegas.  The girls are early AM heroes at this point!  I warmed up in the gym at the hotel before we went, downed coffee and a bagel, and we were off!  I barely made it to transition to set up all my stuff before it was closed and we were down at the water.  This event was a time-trial start where you seeded yourself, basically lining up where you wanted to swim.  This kind of start is awesome for me, because you start 2 at a time, and I could line up near the front but not first.  (I know, chicken).  When I dove in, the water was murky but warm enough, and I felt great!  I passed almost everyone in front of me by the first buoy, and kept going despite the sun in my eyes when I lifted my head to sight.  At the end, there was just one person in front of me, and I took some time to slow my breathing and pace in order to transition.  Plus, let’s be honest, I wasn’t exactly sure how to get back to transition (almost a quarter mile!) and I wanted someone ahead of me.  Well, she stopped on the beach and I kept going alone, run/walking and laughing nervously since I wasn’t convinced I could find my way back to transition(although it was totally obvious in hindsight, thanks to you, large orange arrows).

Got to my bike, put all my gear on (yes, I will address my extraordinarily long transition time in another post, but hey, there was that long run from the beach and well…) and got out on my bike.  A few people beat me out of transition, so I counted 4 people in front of me.  I thought to myself, OK, prepare to be pummeled by passers-by, since that had been my previous tri experience.  Somehow, I passed someone on the first hill, and kept riding.  I was worried about all the hills on the course the day before, and they made it challenging, but I just kept thinking about all the things Trainer Guy taught me about riding hills and worked my gears as best I could, keeping my cadence steady.  One person passed me about 5 miles in, but there was no one else out there all around.  I started to think crazy people thoughts like, “Hey I am doing pretty good.  I wonder how well I will end up doing?”  I was deliriously happy as I approached the turnaround because there were only 5 people ahead of me, and it seemed most of the way back was downhill!  Hooray!  Who doesn’t love a good downhill?

Apparently, the wind.   I went to turn and the wind slapped me right in the face, as if to say, “Hey dummy, this isn’t a walk in the park, you idiot!” I freaked for about 30 seconds, and then brought it back to Trainer Guy’s advice.  Christine and I usually poke fun at his harping about “good circles” but focusing on that kept me from thinking about the wind and kept me moving as fast as I could.  As I was getting to turn off the highway and into the resort, I started smiling.  BIG.  I started yelling, “Good job!” to the people on the other side starting their bike.  All the way into the resort, where it was wind free and I could use the downhill for active recovery into the transition.  I wish everyone could have seen my husband’s face when he saw me come down the narrow chute into transition.  It was a mixture of “Oh my God, she did not die out there on that bike!” and “Holy shit, she’s doing a pretty good job!”

T2 was pretty simple (thanks speed laces, you’re both cute and functional), so it was off for the last leg.  You had to run a big hill out of transition for the out-and-back 5k.  Again, I panicked I didn’t have enough left in the tank to finish, but I kept telling myself to do what I could, and I would figure it out if I ended up dying out there.  There were so many nice volunteers, I was sure one would scrape me from the road if necessary.  I put my “thumbs up” and started running up the hill.  On the second hill, I started walking because my heart rate was through the roof and my lungs were on fire.  But I picked it back up, and once I saw the group of half-naked men handing out water, my pace quickened, only to stumble right in front of them and drop my cup of water (total me move).  I pressed on, getting passed by a couple of women, and having to walk at least one more hill on the way back.  And I kept a good spirit about it all.  At this point, I have to give a little shout-out to Trainer Guy.  All that crap I thought was so repetitive and annoying that he kept saying: 1) made me able to actually remember it and 2) totally worked.  Just sayin’.

The downhill into the finish was awesome (again, who doesn’t love downhills?).  I was flying and I was psyched because I knew I had done my best, I had fun, and I had put together an awesome race.  I had to tear up a bit because I couldn’t believe how well I had done, coming off the Black Lung and not doing anything disastrous, like getting caught in my wetsuit or falling on the bike.  Plus, I’m a crier.  A volunteer hugged me and told me “Good job, honey!”  The race director let me back into transition to get my inhaler before I had an asthma attack, and then I rolled onto the grass with the girls.  I couldn’t have been happier.

@ the finish. apparently went “too fast” for an action shot.

Well…maybe a tiny bit happier.  Apparently you can get a little happier when you hang out for the awards and delicious free breakfast (in case you’re wondering if IronGirl events are “worth it”, there’s no question!).  There was a little part of me that needed to know “What if I did place in my age group?” and since they were not posting results and I do not know how/care enough to calculate everyone else’s time, I wasn’t certain about how I did.  I knew my time (approximately) and when they announced my age group’s 3rd place winner, I thought, “I think my time was faster than that…”. Same with 2nd.  Then I started to think “Hey, maybe my timing chip didn’t work…” and then they announced I had WON FIRST PLACE!  There was some shock involved. I didn’t move and the announcer was like, “Is she here?” and I put up my hand and starting walking up.  And then he announced that I had the fastest swim time of the day, and people were clapping and patting my arm.

my finisher medal and winner bling!

It’s a lot to go from fat chick on the sidelines to being called to receive an award at a sporting event.  We got back to the car and one of the women who beat me was arguing with her husband/ coach (not even touching that one).  She’s yelling “13 minutes for the swim!  It’s impossible!  I’ll never do it!”  Which was my time.  And because I have no skills at thinking on my feet, I’ll tell you what I should have told her.  “No, it’s not impossible.  2 years ago, I weighed 230 pounds and could barely walk a 5k.  I was fat and miserable and disappointed with myself.  Today, you barely beat me out there.  I won my age group in huge triathlon.  And I HAD FUN doing it.  Nothing is impossible.”

Here we go!

We made it!

To the end of the semester and the ski season, that is…and now it’s vacation time!  The hubby and I dreamed up a ridiculous 18 day road trip with the kiddos, and we leave tomorrow.  Of course, everyone is sick and the house is a mess, but it wouldn’t be an adventure if there was no challenge, right?

The Land Yacht, aka the Suburban we bought in February, is not apparently large enough to fit all of our stuff.  (For the record, I wanted a Wagon Queen Family Truckster, but those are a little harder to come by).  The hubs last night told me that we definitely needed to add the roof box to the top of the behemoth monster that we drive.  And we just got a bike rack last week. Every time he accelerates, I start counting, “One dollar, two dollars, three…”

The land yacht

My top choice was rejected.

Hopefully, it will be our trusty steed (and home) for the next couple of weeks.  And it’s the official crew vehicle, since I will be doing the IronGirl Lake Las Vegas triathlon (I know! So exciting!) this weekend and Taylor will wrap up our trip at the Silver State 50 near Reno in a couple of weeks.  I think the jury is still out on whether or not we are warping our children by designing vacations pretty exclusively around racing.  Trainer Guy thinks we are being “good role models”, while I think that someday they may rebel and become coach potatoes.

Since I have contracted the Black Lung from my children earlier this week, I tried to hold a pity party for myself about my potential race performance.  Trainer Guy and my husband both told me to get over it, so instead I am focusing on the important things, like these cool, new speed laces that match my shoes exactly:

It’s the little things that excite me.

And the super fancy sleeveless wetsuit Christine let me borrow.  I wore it this morning to swim practice.  It’s pretty awesomely buoyant.  And, it is easy to take off, which has been my #1 fear going into this race, since it took me about 27 minutes to take off my full-sleeve wetsuit at Highline Lake a couple of weeks ago.

It looks even cooler right side out.

 So, no matter what happens or how I feel, I am VERY excited to go and see the spectacle that is a 700-woman triathlon event, even if I fall down taking off my wetsuit in T1, or get a flat tire, or win (hahahaha).  Because after that our road trip consists of seeing family and friends, camping along the coast in California, going to Yosemite, and being in and around Lake Tahoe.  So hit me up with suggestions— for my race, for sights to visit, if I can use your washing machine, or something like that!  I’ll send pics!  🙂

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