adventures of a mere mortal in fitness and life

Posts tagged ‘motivation’


So those of you who have known me for a long time are well aware of my tendency to be a total spaz when it comes to physical movement.  It is nearly a damn miracle (knock on wood inserted here) that I have been spared injury or some kind of freak accident while logging all these miles swimming, biking, and running.  I mean, I think I know why my mom put me in swimming all those years ago– the swimming pool was a relatively safe environment for a klutz like me, right?  Even so, I still managed to break my foot jumping into the DEEP (12 feet) end of a pool when I was a freshman in high school (figure that out, physicists!).

So naturally, I try to stay away from anything that might lead to my body becoming entangled in a rope or pinned under a heavy weight because of my years of experience doing things like falling off a lifeguard chair and nearly breaking my hip.  Training with Trainer Guy last winter/spring helped me extinguish some of my most basic fears about using weights or doing exercises that involved total body coordination and cooperation.  Still, my klutz radar is on high alert when I go to try new physical activities, particularly the ones  involving pull ups or the dreaded rope climb.

rope climb

Sometime in early winter, Trainer Guy changed the name of his “Ski Conditioning Intervals” class to “Fury”.  Besides the obvious that I would not go to a class with such a ludicrous name, I kind of quit going to it because I didn’t like being uncomfortable not knowing all the different exercises and whether or not I could even complete them.  Plus, there was all the dangerous equipment I could see myself mishandling: sledgehammers, ropes, tires, you get the picture.  I will admit it: I was scared.  Maybe even a little intimidated.

Trainer Guy started offering the class at 5:30 AM last month, and so I decided to give it a try again.  I figured how bad could one hour be, right?  Well, off the bat, these were the happiest damn people I have ever seen awake that early in the morning.  That threw me off because usually I am alone in that category, and these people were REALLY happy.  Like already had their coffee happy.  Then they started doing the workout on the board, and I wasn’t sure what to do, so I kind of followed one person, but everyone was doing things at a different paces and in different orders, so mostly I just did a little bit and then made out loud snarky comments about it (nervous habit!).  I survived that one, and then I went back the next week.  And things were a little more mellow because I kind of knew what to expect, although you really never know what to expect in that class.

The following week, I did the class twice.  And it was really hard.  But I too felt “had my coffee” happy at the end.  The feeling of accomplishment is like double when you look at the workout and then you say to yourself, Oh my God! I can’t do 100 burpees! and then you do them and a whole lot more than that.  Not only am I building physical strength, but I am also building mental strength because I start from a premise of panic and disbelief and I have to move through that mental roadblock to complete the workout.  So it’s kind of a 2-for-1 workout, and you all should know that I’m a sucker for a bargain.

So yeah, resting my sweaty face on the disgusting carpet of the rec center cardio room is kinda where I’m at these days.  There’s so much going on that I can’t control in life right now, so I am grateful for these moments just for me and my overall well-being.  Sometimes it’s really worth it to move beyond deep discomfort and to try something new and stick with it.


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

I resolve…

oh yeah, of course I am doing a New Year’s resolution post.  Why wouldn’t I?  I LOVE to wipe to the slate clean and start over- if you didn’t know that, check out my “Day 1-itis” post.

But seriously, I have new challenges I have been ruminating over during the fall and winter, and new challenges that have been handed over to me for which I hadn’t planned.  This semester, I will be working full-time for the first time since Sarah was born, about 6 years ago!  I can’t believe it’s been that long, but I am excited to do the work (mostly because it’s temporary…as in temporary until my husband looks at our bottom line without frowning for the first time in 6 (7? 8? 9?) years and makes his own resolution for me to stay working full-time.  Love ya honey! wink. wink.)

So that said, this year I resolve to do the following things:

  • I will track my food on my (new! shiny!) iPhone until I get to my goal weight of 150 pounds. (wow, yup, there it is.  I said it.  That was harder than it looks.)
  • I will run a half-marathon, preferably on trail.  Preferably at the appointed date of March 10.  Preferably in unseasonably sunny and dry conditions.  Preferably in an amazing fashion.
  • I will complete a half-Ironman triathlon this year.  At least one, and again, preferably in amazing fashion.
  • I will use the following mantra and attempt to follow it at every opportunity:


which of course will lead to all kinds of wonderful things like yelling less, working out more, keeping everyone happy and calm.  I can see it now-  the vision is a little blurry, but I can see it, and we all know this one follows that:


I do have some more plans for 2013 (of course!), but I am still having commitment issues and need to consult the gurus like Mr. Prepared (my husband) and the Evil Genius (I didn’t think I should stalk her about my goals during the holidays, but I kind of wanted to) and get settled in to my new position at work.  And I don’t want to feel weighed down by too many goals, since the ones above are pretty big.  I want my resolutions to light my path forward, keep me focused, excited and positive about the future.  And I can tell you from experience…it’s working!

Share your resolutions with me!  I love to hear from you! 

haters gonna hate…

It always makes me laugh when this meme pops up on a friend’s FB profile pic, but this week it became all too clear how my opposite thinking was affecting my life.  Someone said something at work that totally upset and annoyed me.  But you know what?  It did make me finally reflect on “things” (whatever that means).  I realized today that I have been running around worrying about what everyone else says I should do and what everyone else thinks and I haven’t been trusting my own judgement or my own ability one bit.  And the only person that affects negatively is me.

One of the reasons that I often over-ate and over-drank (secretly and not) was because I doubted my own intelligence, strength, and likeability.  Of course, there were periods in my life when that self-doubt and lack of confidence dimmed and faded into the background, but it always remained inside me.  My main way of comforting that self-doubt was to eat or drink until I was too numb to care about it any more. Then I would try to increase my likeability by making myself seem “indispensable” to people, which sometimes meant I did things I didn’t want to do or think were the right course of action.  Instead of doing what was right or what was right for me, I nodded my head yes and kept my mouth shut.

Spending a lot of time in treadmill confessional (yes, it is an actual activity) with Trainer Guy helped me work through a lot of that crap, but of course you can’t undo a lifetime of bad habits in a few months.  So it was likely I would have a backslide, but I guess I just didn’t realize it would affect my whole lifestyle- family life, diet, exercise, work, everything.  I haven’t been able to find the strength within or the confidence in myself to even be myself.

Now that I have realized what has been going on in my own head, I am not going to allow it to happen anymore.  I am going to be myself first, trust my own decisions, use my own gifts, and take care of me and my own first.  Self-doubt will not be tolerated.  Because maybe haters are gonna hate, but I am going to love myself first!

a cookie for your thoughts

It’s back to school time already in the valley, and I happen to have a little girl who is headed off to kindergarten this year.  She’s pretty excited.  Last week we took Grandma and Grandpa to buy school supplies and a new backpack.  Those of you who know my cutie patootie will not be surprised by her choice:

By the way, when she asks me characters’ names in Star Wars, I just make them up.

Being a former school teacher, one might suppose I have a lock on this get ready for kindergarten thing.  But you would be wrong.  A conversation with me might go like this:

You: Who does your child have for kindergarten this year?
Me: I don’t know.
You: What time does school start?  Me: I don’t know.
You: What are you going to do on Mondays with your child while you are working?
Me: I don’t know.

Very productive conversation, indeed.  I am listening to other people spit out full background checks of their kids’ teachers and I can barely manage to figure out if “antibacterial wipes” on the supply list means the ones kids use on their hands or the ones for the desk on which some kid just wiped his boogery hand.  Which leads me to one conclusion: I am avoiding this situation.

I have been looking forward to the arrival of school for my kiddos for a while now.  But my behavior is not consistent with this supposed feeling.  And I am very familiar with this problem because I have been doing the same thing with food lately.  I know, I know…you’re saying, “But you just updated your food page and it sounded so…militaristic.”  Yes, I know.  I thought that updating it would get me motivated, but it didn’t do too much.  Or, I will start the day all serious and by the end of the day I have worked my mind around some kind of feast I need to consume because of “all that training” I have been doing.

Just a little something for dinner.

The result?  The scale stays the same or ticks up 1 or 2 pounds.

I am having a hard time wrapping my brain around eating the right mix of things to get both desired calories and energy levels.  When I was primarily trying to lose weight, my calories were so limited that I didn’t have any wiggle room for ANY “extra” food.  Today, I was sitting at lunch thinking, “Do I have enough calories for that peanut butter and jelly sandwich?”  Okay, it was really a cookie, but you get the idea. (Note: See what sugar does?  Destroyed my self-control for the rest of the day.  This is not an excuse- I am just pointing out a fact.)

I mean, it’s exhausting – physically and mentally to be so vigilant at times.  If I go hard-core and don’t consume enough calories, I bonk- if not that day, then the next.  If I consume too much, the scale ticks onward and upward.  If I change my typical foods that I consume, it tends to throw me off eating-wise and energy-wise.

So, I am looking for advice.  For a while now, my weight has hovered around the same place, which I am not terribly upset with since it’s August and I have given up my summer bikini wearing dreams.  But it would be nice to be able to get to a place where I am not fighting so hard to stay the same, or even if I could figure out how to drop 1-2 pounds a month, since I do dare to dream of bikini-wearing days in the future.  So if you have been there or can provide any more tips, I would completely appreciate it!

race recap: Steamboat Lake Sprint

Standing on the muddy bottom of Steamboat Lake this weekend, I found myself wondering why I choose to spend repeated weekends swimming circles around some lake.  Oh yeah, I like doing this! I have definitely had some waning enthusiasm last week about racing and training.  But I was pretty certain that I would have a different perspective once I finished this race.  And I do, thank goodness.

After being kicked off the picnic table by my sister for talking too loud before the race (apparently a nervous habit), I ran in circles and did some yoga.  I can never figure out how to warm up properly for these things.  The rule-bound part of me feels the need to listen to the pre-race directions, while the logical part of me tells me to warm up.  I listened to the rule-bound part of myself, and then did a few quick sprints in the water before our wave started, if for nothing else than to get my feet out of the crawdad-infested mud.

Overall, the race course was a tough one.  There were a lot of hills on the bike, and one spirit-crushing one on the way out of transition on the run.  Without knowing for sure, I sensed that an age-group place finish went out the door as a quick woman with “36” (her age) on the back of her leg galloped past me on the way up that hill.  She actually even pulled off to go to the bathroom and still crushed me.  What was important for me to remember was that I was here for fun, for myself, and to learn about my desires, limits, and capabilities.

Bringing it to the finish with all I had left!

Racing as an adult is much different for me than as a kid and teenager.  Too often as a kid, I believed that I “had” to race, or that I “had” to swim.  We did it because there wasn’t any good reason not to do it, and everyone else was doing it, so I just did it.  Part of the reason I started to play water polo in high school was so that I could get away from racing.  Now I find myself racing again, and I can appreciate it more because I am choosing to do it.  So when the motivation wanes like it did last week, I remember that I am here of my own free choice.  And if I want to stop, I can, and if I don’t want to do a race, I can do that too.  No coach is standing here making me swim the 200 fly or 100 breast ever again, whether for points, places, ribbons, or trophies.  I am my own free agent, which is motivation enough for me.

Steamboat Lake Sprint 2012

.5 mi swim/12.4 mi. run

10:26/42:30/32:17/ 1:27:36

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: