Sunday, January 3, 2021

Going old school

 

Over the past year, I have sat down to write many times, but what do I say? How do I write when it was a year where some people lost their lives or lost everything they had; yet others barely felt anything more than a mask on their face?

I had to come to terms with the fact that if I was going to write, it would be just about me.

It was probably better that I didn't write back then because when I sat down to write, I would feel this anger bubbling up. 

It wasn't anger about any one thing. It was anger about everything. FFS, I was even mad at people who were exercising/training at regular intervals because it took every ounce of energy for me to just get out of bed.

I don't want to go down that road now. I had a few people that honestly kept me sane. They didn't seem to care if I was snarky or cynical in my response, or if my responses weren't sincere. They just let me be. Those friends were Alison, Gabi & Liz, who would message me random bits of things going on in their lives. Those random bits would remind me that the world (as much as I wanted to believe) did not revolve around me.

Weird. Huh?

Most importantly, they made me smile or laugh. 

Why blog again? Why now? Way way back when I was a kid, I always kept a journal. Of course as an older adult, that became blogging. Then, as I started focusing on being an athlete, the blog became more of a training journal. 

I don't know; other than it just felt right. I really don't have a reason.

For a long long time, I was lost with life. Normally, I have goals. For most of this year, my goal was to get through each day. SURVIVE each day.  

2020 felt like Groundhog's day, every single day. 

In December, I started to think about how I wanted to move forward. (That's progress, right?) This is my new workload. This is my new schedule. What do I want to accomplish in 2020?

It was not an easy thing to do because I was not in a place where I had ANY motivation to do anything. All I had was this overwhelmingly positive feeling that 2021 was going to be better.  I knew that I would have to work through a few more months of darkness. Then, good things would start happening again.

Being in a state of darkness, what do I do? I tried repeatedly to run or bike or swim or strength train, but I did nothing consistently. 

The more I let go, the better I felt. I thought, "Maybe this is the best time for me to go back to the basics". 

I started as a runner, a very long time ago. Running is hands down the easiest thing to do. No gym required. Step out the door and run. 

And of course, there's Dobbs now. Dobbs the wonder dog. Dobbs the dog that we thought would be a small dog. Dobbs the pup we got that was practically emancipated, with visible bones sticking out, ended up being incredibly muscular, powerful, energetic, athletic (we think) 70lbs now at 14 months. 

We did a dna test that came back, "He's a baaaaad bitch".

Most importantly, Dobbs loves to run. It took extensive training, as we ran into hurdles with the pandemic hitting. No doubt, we put a lot of work into his training, as I've posted ad nauseum on FB and IG. 

All the work was worth it, as we have an incredible dog that is fully off leash trained, trained to run with me, and on and on.

I have a dog that nudges me with his nose immediately after breakfast, starts running in circles, & whining with excitement. When I ask, "Do you want to run?", he loses his mind.

Being as I was struggling to get to the pool because of work and my bike motivation was very low, and I have a dog ready to run marathons at full speed.....well, running became my thing.

I went full circle.

I have no goals. No plans. I feel like I'm starting all over again, and it was an incredibly refreshing feeling. 

Dobbs and I run and walk. Because each run is technically "training" for the both of us, we work on running longer stretches each run. When we walk, he gets a mental break to just walk next to me and smell fun stuff like goose poop and the long grass (that I swear must be doggie crack). Physically, he can go forever, but mentally, we need to work on his focus. I can tell when he starts getting tired of thinking.

This whole thing led me to think that if I'm starting over again, what do I really want to focus on? 

If you've ever set goals before, you know that the goal has to be something that is truly important TO YOU. It doesn't matter what other people tell you. It doesn't matter what your BFF is doing. 

I needed to find that thing.....the one thing....that I felt was important. 

I was excited for the first time in over a year.

I went online and bought planner and colorful, sparkly pens, and fun stickers because I like that shit. I personalized it with quotes that mean a lot to me.(It got delayed due to the holidays, but it's supposed to be here on MONDAY!)

I signed up for a course with Dina to help me get back on track. 

I found a running plan, many months ago, that I like. Although, I'm not following it exactly. I am running on the days it says to run. On opposite days, me and Dobbs are walking. I really really like the plan. It even includes strength training. 

I started meditating again. I haven't done it since 2018. I signed up for Headspace again (when they had a year end promotion). 

There was a session, where Andy (the headspace founder) said something along the lines of "The thought of "I don't want to meditate" comes into your head. Let the thought come in and let it move on, like watching cars on the road. Then, sit down to meditate".

I realized how that is to my running. One day, I thought, "I don't want to run". Then, I sat down and put on my running shoes and went running. 

Of course, nothing I do is perfect, and perfect isn't the goal. My goal is to run a bit more consistently this month than I did last month. My goal is to meditate a little bit each day, because even 1 minute makes me feel better. My goal is to write with my sparkly pens, a few times a week. 

Then, maybe, me and Dobbs can do a 5k together in the coming months.

Oh, and here's Dobbs after a run a few weeks ago. And yes, he smiles like that all the time.

Monday, September 30, 2019

2019 Year in Review


Don't read this post. Just sit there and listen to Dolly. It'll be the best 5 min of your day....trust me.

It's been a looong time.



Without rehashing the past, here's what happened in the past year:

1.) At this time last year, I decided to take a year off of triathlon.
2.) I took off 4-5 months from swimming.
3.) I biked quite a bit because I love it.
4.) I ran as I felt like it.
5.) Around April of 2019, I felt like I needed and wanted more structure to my workouts.
6.) I signed up with the Mastermind Coach Liz again.

I wasn't ready to race. And, I was careful to not overdo anything.

That puts us around.....June.



Around the same time, Liz asked that I start thinking about my goals. What did I want to do this year and next.  I gave this a lot of thought. I was feeling so much better. I was physically and mentally in a great place.

I told her, "I'd like to qualify for Nationals again next year. I don't know if I'll actually race. But, I'm in the top end of my age group. It'll take a lot of work to qualify with all the new 50's year olds".

In June a local race director posted that a NEW big huge race was coming.

Then the race was announced....it was going to be a multisport festival that included a supersprint!

Well hell. I don't have to be in super great shape to race a supersprint. Talked to Coach Liz, who was all like, "Let's do it!".

And the race was on. Long story short. THIS HAPPENED.


I was 3rd OVERALL....and qualified for Nationals.



More importantly, I had a blast. I made some dumb mistakes that were the result of not racing for a year, but I just laughed them off and made note: Don't do that again.

I had only told 1 or 2 people that I was racing. I wanted to go out there for the sheer fun of racing. I wanted to see if I enjoyed it again. I sure DID have fun.

I had so much fun that I raced a sprint 2 weeks later. If I told you my goals, you'd think I was crazy.



OK:
Swim, it's just whatever.
Bike, climb strong, descend with confidence.
Run: run the last hill, don't walk it.

Of course, make NEW mistakes and not the same ones I made last time.

This time, I won my age group. I was probably MORE surprised about this one than the overall podium because I wasn't sure if I had the fitness to do anything more than just get out there and do my best.

Nationals qualification #2.

And then, I shut it down. Two races in two weeks, and I was ready to hop back on the off season bus.

That was my 2019 season.

I signed up for Coretober through MSM/JHC Coaching. I will loosely participate in Swimvember. (Even this is up in the air). I just started a new strength class that I really like.

Don't ask what I'm doing next year. I don't know. Liz and I have talked about it, but I don't want to make any decisions until next year.  With the changes in the business, Oct-Dec is going to very challenging. I want to enjoy my time and keep having fun with training....while maintaining my sanity through our busy months.

Sometimes, I just need to step back and take a breath and say, "Look what I've done. Let's just absorb this for a little while".


Tuesday, May 14, 2019

I feel normal.



Yes. I. feel. normal.




You might remember that back in Nov, I decided to take time off. I was at rock bottom. I couldn't take one more thing on, for fear of absolutely losing my shit....which BTW, would be a full blown emotional breakdown.

I took off for 4 months and did what I want. 

I set some rules in place.



My plan, if you could call it a plan, was to be active....that was it.

1: I wouldn't do anything that I didn't want to do.

2: If I wanted to take a day off, for any reason, I'd take a day off. 

I had no idea I would go like that. I had zero motivation for anything (except riding my bike which I did alot).  I didn't want to think about training at any level. I wanted to be as far away from anything related to triathlon. 

When Liz and I talked, I told her, "I'll be back".

But really, in my heart, I did not feel like I would be.

It was the greatest thing I've ever done. I went through the entire holiday season without any stress of trying to get everything done. I threw myself into work. I love what I do, so this was something that gave me a lot of purpose and feeling of success.

The New Year rolled around, and I started feeling better. In February, I changed up my work schedule a lot. During this time, I was able to figure out what "training" would look like with my new work schedule.

At the end of Feb, I decided I needed help creating a training plan, except that I wasn't calling it a training plan. 

As I told Liz, "I need a plan for someone with no goals, no desire to race. Oh, and I absolutely do not want to swim. And I might skip workouts a lot, but really my goal is prevent me from doing anything stupid and hurting myself".

She was totally with the idea. 

She set me up with about 5-7 hours a week of exercise.

PERFECT.

Until it wasn't. I realized that I was skipping fewer and fewer workouts. I wanted more.

I still didn't want to call it "training", and I absolutely did NOT want to race. Of course, there was the whole NO SWIMMING thing.

Even though I wasn't doing much, it was probably the best quality work that I've done in a long time. 

I put myself 100% into doing all the things that I usually don't focus on, because I wasn't planning on racing. I was always focused on heart rate or pace. I wouldn't give real focus to the dirty work.

As much as I was enjoying this, I still wanted to be as far away from triathlon as possible.

As the months went by, my volume was increasing (in small amounts). 

One day, I woke up excited to SWIM.  After 7 months of no swimming, I wanted to swim again.

I told Liz: "Hey, let's try a short swim to see how it goes". I'm thinking 20 minutes with a noodle sounds pretty spectacular.

Liz being Liz, gave me 2300m including 100's.


Then, I realized she gave me 2 swims.


Ok. That's ok.

But I enjoyed the swims. After the 2nd one, I felt more like myself than I have in 1.5 years. 

I felt normal. 

(No. Still not interested in triathlon).

NORMAL. I felt normal. It felt so good to feel that way.

Then, it happened again, this week. I started getting back into the swing of things. I'm back to figuring out how to get my workouts versus finding a way to get out of doing them.

I'm now at almost 8 months of this. 

It feels good to feel normal again.

For those of you who have asked another athlete, "How did you know you needed time off"?

OR

You've asked yourself, "I wonder if I should take time off"?

The answer is YES. If those questions are even popping in your head, the answer is YES.

I know. Because there have been times when my motivation has been high, and I never even considered taking time off. I didn't want or need it. 

Trust me. Take all the time you need. Even when you think you'll NEVER go back to sport, you will. It will come back to you. 

And you will be more refreshed and motivated than before.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Crazy, crazy, crazy, crazy



I've been called "crazy", "irrational/emotional", "off my meds"... and many more. And I'm still here proud to be doing my crazy.

"Show them what crazy can do".

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

This might be it.

Things are always changing.

I've held on to this blog for a really long time. I don't think I have it in me to keep it up anymore.

I've found that being able to write one post and share it across different media works better for me.

Blogger doesn't really give a good option for that.

I can't say that I will never blog again, but I've found that I enjoy being able to write up quick summaries (about various topics) works better for me.

I don't have time....er....I don't want to take the time to write blog posts anymore.


Thanks for reading for all those years.



Monday, January 7, 2019

Heading in the right direction






This was not a sunrise run, but it WAS the earliest I've been running in a very long time. 

Today, this week, however you want to look at it, is the beginning of my next phase. I didn't plan it that way. It just happened, which means, I am ready to move on. I don't really like calling it "the next phase". For lack of a better word, that's what it is.

The first phase (Nov and Dec) was all about emotional recovery. I did what I wanted when I wanted. I slept more, skipped days and ate my share of baked goods. I realized that I had no desire to swim, so I didn't. I ran a little bit. I found myself riding more than I ever have, sometimes just easy and sometimes using harder effort Trainerroad workouts. I started strength training a lot. 

Now that the holiday season is over, and I feel like I'm in a good place mentally, I'm committed to adding more veggies back into my diet and running a bit more (3x per week). I'm signed up for the NCC through USA Triathlon, so any running mileage helps the team. 

The holiday is season is a blur of chaos, probably more for us small business owners who are also in retail. 

NONE of this has been planned. None of this is intentional. But, taking time off Nov and Dec was the best thing for me. 

I have never believed in forcing things. I do things on my own time. 

Saturday, January 5, 2019

My positive influences

With this being a gap year for me, I was thinking how cool it would be for me to talk about the people in my life who had positive influences on me. These aren't in order of importance.

I got this idea when I was cleaning out my closet of riding gear. I came across this cap.




It's only appropriate that I start with the Ranch Riders. 

Many years ago, there was a group of riders based in London. But, they were known to 

ride around the world. They would write up ride/race reports that were so entertaining. 

These were back in the good ole days of MySpace and blogs. I have no idea how we came 

to know each other. I can tell you that the Ranch Riders are one of the reasons I put so 

much work into the bike. When I first started riding, I knew NOTHING about riding. I 

knew a bike had 2 wheels and a chain.... but that was the extent of my knowledge. Being

a new cyclist and seeing the way those guys and gal could ride, blew me away. They

always seemed like they were having so much fun. I wanted that too. I watched YouTube 

video after video learning how to care for my bike. I remember when Jman and I spent 

HOURS and probably 5 tubes, learning how to fix a flat. I went to empty parking lots, so I 

could learn how to corner. Over the years, I lost contact with all of them, except 

one. They probably never realized the positive influence they had over this dork, 

newbie rider. I'm still a dork, but at least I can change a flat now. #windbeneathmywings