swimming

Enough

“All I can tell you really is if you get to the point

where someone is telling you that you are not great or not good enough,

just follow your heart and don’t let anybody crush your dream.”

-Patti LaBelle

enough

There are a lot of things in this life that I am not good at… that I struggle with in fact. At the top of that list is feeling like anything I do is ever good enough. Despite being a complete devotee to self love and acceptance, I have to admit that I am by far my own worst critic. I am pretty sure I am not alone in this admission. The thing is, it’s not because I’m unhappy with who I am. It’s that I’m not happy with where I’m at.

I have accomplished EVERY major goal I set my mind to in the past year. I overcame numerous obstacles including not knowing how to bike or swim, surgery, and injury (and FEAR!) to not only become a triathlete, but complete my first Half Ironman (in less than 7 hours!). I finished not one, but TWO 50K ultras with a third in the works, AND ran in my first sponsored race thanks to Bondi Band at the Ragnar Adirondacks.

Beyond the athletic sphere I have made strides in my personal life as well. I successfully negotiated for a better (and more importantly healthier!) position at work with better pay and a better schedule… which means seeing the hubs more… YEA!!!! I also have spent another year actively involved with CT-ALIVE in various projects to raise funds for victims of domestic violence, including my next run for the Running For The Color Purple Campaign this weekend.

I have taken on every challenge full steam ahead without ever taking my eye off the goal. Yet, despite everything I have achieved, I have yet to ever feel satisfied or fulfilled. Sure, it’s exciting when the task at hand is accomplished, but almost immediately my thoughts turn to the next challenge. There is no resting or stopping to savor the moment. I simply don’t know how to slow down.

The fact is, no matter what I do or goal I reach, I always feel like I have more untapped potential that I am just wasting. So many people go through life fearing failing above all else. I, on the other hand, fear not trying. I would rather chase a dream I only have a fraction of a chance of completing than go after one I know I can obtain. I want to live every moment to the fullest and know I used every ounce of my potential. I don’t want to waste a single second! When I leave this earth, I want to be sure I made the absolute best use of my time here. That is why I constantly feel pressure to do more to make an impact.

I know there is something greater I should be doing with my life; and, at times, I struggle with trying to figure out exactly what that is. I am well aware that I am not the brightest, most charismatic, or talented person out there, but I do have the desire, drive, and resolute determination to make a difference. I want to inspire people to chase their dreams. I want to change the way they view what is possible. I want to educate the public, demystify domestic violence, and give a voice to those victims and survivors who can’t speak for themselves. I want to do all these things on a larger scale than I am now. I want to affect lives!

That is why I see myself as an author and public speaker. I am already taking steps to get there. I have no idea how long it will take, but I intend to stick with it until I am successful. All the women I admire (Diana Nyad, Meredith Atwood, Brook Kreder…) all have something in common- They are inspiring others, particularly other women, by chasing their dobetterdreams. They all took on goals that other people questioned their ability to obtain, and they found a way to make them happen in spite of any obstacles. These are my role models. They have achieved the type of impact I want to make. (Okay, so realisticly, I am never going to achieve Diana Nyad levels of inspiring, but I would settle for my own TED talk… just putting it out there, Universe)

It may all sound a little looney; but I am a firm believer that the people who possess the power to change the world are those who believe they can.

I believe. I just need to figure out what my path is to get there.

In the meantime, I have been trying to remind myself that while it is great (and completely healthy) to constantly strive for more in life, it is also necessary to accept yourself as enough. It may sound contradictory, but it falls in line with Maya Angelou’s quote “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”

I may not feel like I have reached my full potential in life yet, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t continually strived to become the best version of myself. Everyday I am doing the best I can with what I have to work with. That in itself is something to be proud of. I will continue to push outside my comfort zone and challenge myself until I grow into a person capable of changing the world. However until then, rather than focusing on the destination, I intend to make a better effort at appreciating the journey and trusting that the universe will guide me.

Adjusting My Sails

“I can’t change the direction of the wind,

but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.”
Jimmy Dean

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So before I update you all about my latest big decision, let me fill you all in on the latest going ons of the week.  No big surprise that’s it’s been a busy one!  Let’s break it down shall we:

The Good

On Saturday I went for a Daffodil Group Ride with some peeps from the Tri Club which entailed a very scenic 26 mile ride through the countryside.  It was loads of fun, and I was able to keep up this time without any real trouble.  It also was a great opportunity to meet some new people and get some mileage in on my bike.  Due to the frequent stops for photos (and chatting) it was terrific practice for clipping and unclipping too!

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Lately, I feel like every time I get on my bike, I get more and more comfortable… and consequently that much better.  I have been extremely fortunate to have joined an exceptional Tri Club (through our local YMCA) with members who have been beyond supportive.  I was so afraid initially of people getting annoyed with me for being too slow or a giant chicken, but in reality everyone has been nothing but encouraging.  The group ranges from elite athletes (who –ahemwin Ironmans) to novices… to train wrecks like me.  Sometimes I feel like the only newbie in the group, but I think that is primarily because I am always trying to push myself to do the harder rides and workouts.  At no point, though, have any of them made me feel like I don’t belong or am not good enough to train with them.  I have truly enjoyed getting to know every member I have met so far.  

Plus, I have found that group riding has done wonders for my comfort level with cycling.  I am so much braver when I am with the Tri Club peeps.  I think a lot of it has to do with being distracted by the company.  Making conversation with the people around you is a great way to relax, as it turns out.  Who would have ever guessed?  

Anyway, the ride was by no means easy.  There was a long steady climb for a good part of the way out and lots of quick winding downs coming back.  I spent most of the trip trying to catch the two gentlemen ahead of me, which was perfect for motivating to move faster without getting freaked out about it.  They were both very warm and friendly, and the fact that one of them happens to be a minister only added to my ease about being around them. (I told him I felt much safer riding with a minister.. maybe that’s why I worked so hard at keeping up!)

I definitely came off the ride on a high note.  I managed a moderately difficulty route… (Did I mention all the left turns, traffic, and intersections (ie cycling hazards) at the beginning?) AND I wasn’t even that tired at the end.  Mostly I was hungry, but that seems to be my biggest issue with cycling.  I suppose I will have to work on balancing well enough to eat without stopping… mental note to add that to my goal list…

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The Bad

Now that we’ve covered the highlights of my weekend, let’s recap where it all went down hill, shall we?  

Having conquered my Saturday bike with dignity still intact, I was feeling pretty optimistic going into my first open water swim.  After all, I am a swimmer now.  I go to the pool and turn out laps like it’s my job.  I just keep going, and all is good and right in the world.  

Enter the wetsuit…

I thought it was a great sign that I scored a great deal on The Clymb, and that my wetsuit came in time for the first session.  However, I was slightly nervous having read all the horror stories about first time experiences with open water swimming and wetsuits.  I expected the suit to feel tight.  I expected to feel anxious about not being able to see more than a few inches.  I even expected the water to be really cold.  Somehow, though, I did not expect to struggle as badly as I did.

Image  On the bright side, I did have a few things in my favor.  The first is that swimming, in general, causes me anxiety and makes my heart rate skyrocket.  In that sense, I am very accustomed to having to calm myself, slow down, and get my heart rate under control.  This came in handy when the discomfort (and resulting anxiety) associated with the freezing water and tightness of the wetsuit caused my my pulse to quicken.  I spent almost the entire first half of my swim doing a modified version of breast stroke (speaking of strokes… Coach M may have had one if she saw my technique) so as to keep my face out of the water… which just happened to be a cozy 64 degrees.

Being completely stupid and delusional a glutton for punishment, I had decided to forego starting simple and went straight for the half ironman course instead.  After all, if I can swim over 2 miles easily in the pool, then 1.2 miles should be no problem, right?  Yeah, not so much… There was a point when I considered turning around sooner, but I knew there was a dock waiting at the turn around for the HIM where I could get out and warm up before heading back.  Had I done a shorter route, defrosting was not an option.  

By the time I reached the dock, I was managing 6-10 strokes at a time before my heart rate would climb.  I considered this a major victory.  I was very grateful to have my own personal Triathlon Guardian Angel looking out for me (the same Tri Club member who offered reassurance and called me a rockstar at the duathlon).  I hadn’t realized that he kept an eye out for me the whole way, and I actually felt guilty that I had caused him to stay in the freezing water so much longer than he would have otherwise.  He kept telling me how great I was doing and meant it sincerely (which is especially amusing when you consider that I probably looked like I was drowning).  In the beginning, he tried to swim beside me and give me advice on sighting and my stroke.  Eventually he gave me space to sort it out on my own.  It wasn’t until I saw him at the dock that I was aware of how long he had been keeping tabs on me.

Once he saw I finally had the hang of things, he headed back.  Meanwhile, I only stayed out of the water long enough to warm up enough to breath before hopping right back in to start the swim back.  Because they were already taking down the course, I had my own personal kayak escort for the entire stretch back (sort of the equivalent of the running sag wagon).  I am proud to say that I did at least front crawl the entire way back.  I only stopped twice briefly to change strokes and catch my (frozen) breath.  I finally was getting the hang of sighting and was kicking harder than I probably ever had in my life to get to that shore (and my fleece pants!).  

Even though I should have been proud of myself for sticking it out, I wanted to cry.  My half ironman dreams seemed so out of reach at that moment.  Here I had invested so much time and effort, but it did nothing to prepare me for that swim.  The open water swimming was a whole separate beast.  It was yet another hurdle I needed to overcome, and it made me realize how badly I wanted it.  

I was surprised when I got out of the water that I was greeted not just by other people, but by some cheers.  I thought everyone would have already packed up and headed home, but instead they were there encouraging me.  They said they were impressed by how much I had swum (especially given how much extra I did going off course) and were surprised when I told them it was my first open water swim.  I think one woman’s mouth even dropped when I told her I had only first started swimming in October.  So all in all, I guess it was not as epic a failure as it seemed at the time.

The Ugly

As I said, I am a glutton for punishment.  I think we are all well aware of that by now.  Any normal person who had an exhausting morning of fighting a wetsuit in freezing water would probably call it a day, but I needed to know if the REV3 bike course was doable.  I had heard it was hilly and challenging, however, I also have heard that triathlons tend to be less hilly than regular cycling.  I convinced the hubs to ride it with me, and within 10 miles I was ready to turn around.  My body was exhausted, and to be 100% honest- I WAS SCARED $H%TLESS.  The course was all up or down.  It was really steep at parts, and the wind was so bad it was literally knocking me off balance.  Since the last miles of the course are a repeat of the beginning anyway, we basically covered over 20 miles of the course.  I felt completely defeated.  I couldn’t believe I had worked so hard, and yet I was light years away from what I needed to accomplish for this race.  

Being the most supportive husband on the planet, the Adam rode the course on his own yesterday to see how bad it was.  He biked all 56+ brutal miles just to see how long it would take and gauge if I could do it.  I had no idea what he was up to until I saw him this morning.  He finally agreed with me that there was no way I would make it through in the allotted time.  He is a FAR superior cyclist than me and it took him 4 hours.  He said he had every faith in me that I could handle the course, but didn’t think there was any way I would do it fast enough for the cut off, especially after swimming.  It must have been far worse than I ever could have imagined for him to concede this.  He did finally admit that it only became progressively harder throughout the route.  

The Silver Lining

Obviously, I was disappointed, but he only confirmed what I already knew in my heart.  The race I have had my heart set on for the past year is a greater monster than I ever could have imagined.  I am not giving up on my dream to finish it one day, but it won’t be this year for me.  Instead, I went ahead and registered for the Olympic Distance.  Given that I am still scared to death, I am pretty sure I will still be challenging myself… which also means I should be able to live with this decision without being too disappointed.  As Swim Bike Mom likes to say, the important thing is to Keep Moving Forward.  

I may not meet my goal in the initial timeframe I set for myself, but I am also not giving up.  I still want to do a half ironman this year, and I still want to do the REV3 Quassy (someday).  In the meantime, I will continue to take steps to get there- even if they are baby steps instead of giant leaps!  Right now, the next step is the REV3 Olympic Course.  

In the words of Diana Nyad (my idol who I tried to channel during my freezing, anxiety provoking swim):

 I will find a way.

 

Doing Nothing to Prepare for My Ultra

“Laziness is nothing more than the habit of resting before you get tired.”
-Jules Renard

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We are just 2 days away from my second Ultra, and I am preparing today by being lazy.  Perhaps the most difficult part of training for me is the tapering.  Fellow endurance junkies, I know you know my pain!  I am so accustomed to living life 100 mph that cutting back on training makes me feel like I am literally grinding to a halt.  Plus, given that exercise is my coping mechanism to deal with all the other absurdity going on in my life, the decrease in workouts makes me extra looney.

This time around, however, I am trying to enjoy the downtime.  Life has been so chaotic recently with being promoted to supervisor Imageand my parents moving that the change in pace is actually kind of refreshing.  Instead of feeling like a total slacker, I’ve been reminding myself that my training for Saturday’s run is behind me.  The best thing I can do now is make sure I eat properly, sleep plenty, and ensure my body is well rested.  

So today I am giving myself permission to be lazy.  Rather than worrying about getting in enough mileage of swimming, biking, and running this week, I have been trying to relax… Try being the operative word.  Surprisingly, this has not been as difficult as it typically is for me.  Perhaps this is because I made it to swim class Tuesday night.  We only swam just over a mile, but it was enough to take the edge off and shake off a crappy work day.  

The class was great because we learned a new “punching” drill, and I feel like it really helped my stroke.  Plus Coach M was in a great mood given that I finally gave her my gift for teaching me to swim.  I had noticed she has propensity toward soft, fitted shirts so I got her an “i swim” shirt from the comfiest brand I know: Tough Chik! 🙂  She absolutely loved it!  It’s funny to think how far we’ve come from that first class… 

Aside from swim class, I haven’t done much in the way of exercise this week… Well other than the 5K on Sunday. I might sneak in another swim today, but that will be the last workout prior to Saturday.  Tomorrow I am working, so today my goal is just to take it easy and plan out my gear and attire for the run.  The hubs has agreed to give me a ride and pick me up.  I told him not to feel obligated to stay the whole day since it took me almost 9 hours to finish the last one… plus ultra running is not much of a spectator sport.  I am lucky to have a hubby that not only doesn’t mind me spending an entire Saturday running, but is willing to give up his time to help make it happen.  I think I may have won the spouse lottery.  After all, it takes a special breed to love an ultra runner… especially a tapering ultra runner… 

Who else is racing this weekend?  Any big plans?

So You Have Crunchy Muscles Too?

“The more injuries you get, the smarter you get.”

Ikhail Baryshnikov

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Not so long ago, my Blogging Idol The Bloggess published a post entitled “My Search Results Terrify Me”  which was both hilarious and strangely thought provoking.  In the past few years I have been blogging, I have never bothered to check my most recent search terms… so, of course, I did immediately after reading it.

In the process I discovered some interesting things about my audience… and internet users in general.  For starters, despite the many deep and heart felt posts on this blog, the most popular has been “You Have Crunchy Muscles.”  This is likely because “crunchy muscles” and multiple variations of “crunchy shoulder muscles” and “crunchy back muscles” were among the most frequently searched terms.  This leads me to believe that either A) There are way too many people walking around with crunchy muscles or B) There, sadly, are not many other resources to guide victims of this unfortunate affliction.  Well, fear not my friends! I am here to help.  First, however, I would like to share with you some of the other popular terms that are directing your peers to this site.

In Order of Popularity:

1. Running Inspiration– YES! I am happy this is reason #1 for blog traffic.

2. Yoda Quotes– I have mixed emotions about this one, but given that I am a Yoda loving geek at heart, I consider this a win.

3. Burpee Exercise– Glad I could help with this, but you may want to check out the Spartan Page for more explicit instruction.  Oh and since you are already into burpees, you should sign up for my Spartan Race Giveaway too!

4. Running Thriver– Bravo to you! You found me!  Next time you can just add the www and dot com.

5. Kreativ– I am guessing that this has to do with the Kreativ Blogger Award?

6. Crunchy Muscles– Hang in there peeps! Help is on the way!

7. Breast Cancer Awareness– I did have one post in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month

8. Nice Words to Say– Aw Internet, I am touched… no really.

10. Don’t Forget to Be Awesome– This is indeed important to remember.

Other Less Popular, but Slightly More Entertaining Search Terms:

Love Handles & Sore Love Handles– Clearly I talk about mine too much; but apparently you’re interested.  Let’s be friends.

Marathon Motivation– Um, did you read my marathon recap– DON’T DO IT!!!! Just kidding! But don’t say I didn’t warn you..

Being Sick Sucks– Yes, yes it does.

Remember You Signed a Death Waiver– No death waiver necessary here, but if you are offering…

Bad Ass Socks– Why yes, I do have some.  You can them them here.

Ischemic Colitis– Let’s not go there again…

Why Do My Love Handles Hurt After Running?Again with the love handles?

How Long Before Running Gets Easier– It doesn’t. You just get better.  Haven’t you read the fitspo?

Ass Boot– ????? And that brought you here?

Hate is a Strong Word But I Really Really Really Don’t Like You– Well I’m glad we cleared that up…

Hot Warrior Dash Girls & Hot Tough Mudder Girls– And the internet directed you here?  Oh Internet, you flatterer…

My Life is a Constant Battle between My Love of Food and Not Wanting to Get Fat– Yes, we all struggle with that…

Marie Osmond Hot– As opposed to Donny Osmond hot?

Nothing Sexier than a Woman in the Gym– I guess I am pretty sexy then…ALL THE TIME

Butt Muscles Funny Pictures– Nope, not even going there…

Will Doubling Up on P90 x Get Me There in Half the Time– Depends where “there” is exactly. If you mean injured, then yes it absolutely will…

I Work Out Diligently But Still Have Love Handles– Repeat after me: I have love handles, and that’s okay. Then read this and this… oh and this.

And My Favorite:

Running Llama– Where do I get one?

Okay now back to the hundreds of you who have found this blog due to your crunchy muscles (generally 1-2 of you a day).  First, I have to warn you that while I am a medical professional I am not an orthopedic PA and do not work in sports medicine.  Rather, most of what I know about sports related injury I have learned from first hand experience.  If you are suffering from an injury you should probably have it evaluated rather than trying to push through it.

If you, like me, have crunchy muscles there is a good chance you have scar tissue built up- typically from repetitive activities.  All that running, lifting, cycling, and swimming comes with some cost.  I have not had much personal luck with Orthopedic Doctors.  I did, however, have tremendous success with a sports medicine chiropractor.  If you are considering seeing a chiropractor, I would encourage you to see one who has a background in sports medicine or is familiar with Active Release Technique (A.R.T.).  In a nutshell, A.R.T. is a practice used to break up scar tissue and improve mobility.  The first time I had it done was absolutely AMAZING.  It was not painful at all.  After some heat and stim, the chiropractor basically had me move my shoulder in different directions while he used his fingers to break up the scar tissue.  I went into his office barely being able to lift my arm (while on muscle relaxants) and left with near normal range of motion (no drugs necessary!)

If you are weary of chiropractors or can’t afford one (my insurance covered it 100% at the time), there are some other gadgets you can invest in at home.  Here’s a run down of a few of my favorites:

Foam Roller:  Great for tight IT bands, quads, hamstrings, and mid back.  WarningIt is going to hurt like a mother (let me repeat: LIKE A MOTHER ie. tears rolling down your cheeks), but it will get the job done.  GO SLOWLY and work all the tight spots out.

Trigger Ball: I am pretty sure a tennis ball would probably work as well, but I LOVE this little guy.  I use it DAILY.  The main spots I use this thing are my shoulders and upper back.  It effectively breaks up all those knots from cycling and lifting.  It will snap, crackle, pop, and hurt so good.  Since I started using the trigger ball regularly, I haven’t needed the chiropractor.

**Should you fall in love with the previous two, Trigger actually has a whole kit of gadgets for deep muscle massage and myofascial release. 

Yoga: Mix it up! Yoga will help you relax tight areas and actually help lengthen (stretch) your muscles too.  If you are a YMCA member, chances are they have a yoga class you can take.  Otherwise there are plenty of other options including DVDs.  My personal favorite is P90X yoga, but I wouldn’t recommend it for rehabbing an injury.

Swim: Try some active recovery after a long run or ride.  I routinely do my swim at the end of my workouts because I find I am significantly less stiff and sore than when I don’t.  Not surprisingly, studies have found that swimming is a great form of active recovery and even decreases inflammatory markers in your system after a workout.

Most importantly, be sure to listen to your body!  Don’t push through injuries.  Take rest when you need it.  Rest days are an important part of training, and are necessary to give you muscles time to recover.  Also, pay attention to your diet.  Nutrition plays a HUGE part in muscle healing and body inflammation.  Finally, take time to get adequate sleep.  Your body won’t repair itself when you are busy running it into the ground.

Remember, it’s the only body you are going to get, so take good care of it!

Breaking Up With The Scale

“Only when you are aware of the uniqueness of everyone’s individual body

will you begin to have a senseof your own self-worth.”

Ma Jian

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You may have guessed from the title of this post that the Get Fit Challenge has officially ended (YEA!!!!!!).  That means no more weigh ins!  As you know, I didn’t particularly care for the scale; so I am pretty stoked about our official break up.  Our last challenge was to improve our results from our initial fit test.  We got one point for completing it, and one point for each exercise we improved.  I was a little worried about being able to beat my previous totals since I blasted through the first time… and biked over 23 miles at spin before arriving to take it… oh, and ran over 7 miles of incline… and swam a mile…  Okay so I essentially did a whole triathlon prior.  Good cause for concern, right?

Well surprisingly, I sailed through the push ups, sit ups and squats- surpassing my previous totals on all of them.  It was the having to run farther than 1.68 miles in 10 minutes at the end that nearly killed me!  All I could think was “why did I run so fast the first time?”, and then I remembered it was because I had been racing the hubs.  This time around I was not in a racing mood.  I just wanted to survive it!  Luckily, I managed it with a second or two to spare.  Then we had our final weigh in, and I came in at my highest weight since our initial weigh in (which was both humorous and irritating, but not at all surprising given how bloated I was from finally getting my “visitor”… it would figure that she would disappear for weeks on end and then show up that week!).

Regardless of my epic fail at weight loss (a side effect of not actually needing to lose weight) the hubs and I still came in 3rd place overall, which means we get bragging rights and $25 each to spend at the gym on exciting stuff like protein shakes and gatorade.  Despite my loathing of the weigh ins, it was actually a worthwhile experience for both of us.  Of course now that it is over, I have not had much success in getting the hubs to the gym with me… or the pool… I think he did make one spin class last week.  In his defense, they just switched his shift again at work.  I think he may get back on track when he gets used to his new schedule.  Presently he spends most of his down time sleeping.

I, on the other hand, am really proud of myself for not only continuing to kick butt at the gym (I am soooo close to doing a real pull up!!!), but also sticking to my mileage goals for the year.  To date I have managed 335/1000 miles for the bike, 146/500 miles for running, and 17/50 miles for swimming.  I even forced myself to ride the bike trainer for an hour twice this week (even though it is even more painful and boring than running on a treadmill).  To keep motivated I wear my Tough Chik jersey and remind myself that it is mental preparation.  I also remind myself that I need all the help I can get with cycling… like even more than with swimming, and that is saying something!

All that biking, running, and swimming has meant lots of time at the YMCA.  I prefer to run there when I use the treadmill because they have fancy ones that go up to 30% incline and will even decline up to 3%. The past few weekends I have dedicated my Saturday mornings to doing the 7am spin class, followed immediately by a very hilly run on the treadmill, and then a swim.  My goal is usually to do an hour of each in a row, however this generally gets adjusted based on how great or awful I am feeling that day.  Yesterday I only did a 4 mile run because my legs were fried from all the miles on the bike trainer but then did an almost 1.5 mile swim, which is a new distance record for me.

Surprisingly, I have gotten to the point now with swimming that I actually look forward to class and going on my own.  Saturday mornings have become my “quiet time” swim where I can plug in my headphones and tune out the world.  I purposely brick my workouts out of order and swim at the end because I know the pool we be empty and my body will feel refreshed after the beating its taken all morning.  I consider it an active recovery.  Plus, it just seems really inefficient to shower at the beginning and end of your workout.  This way I only need to shower once at the end.  That means I’m saving water and the environment in addition to kicking ass.

I have to say that triathlon training in general has been a life enriching experience.  It’s exposed me to a new sport (swimming) which I now LOVE and continually forces me to live outside of my comfort zone.  I have become not only stronger, but more confident and self assured.  There is nothing like regularly seeing yourself in a sport swimsuit (and letting the public see you in it) to force you to get comfortable in your body.  I’ve gone from a point of being modest (and at times embarrassed) in the locker room to feeling proud of myself every time I put my swim gear on.  I worked my way up from not being able to swim at all to swimming for over an hour straight with minimal rest.  In fact, I can even swim three different strokes now (though I still look… and feel…like I’m drowning on breast stroke… who deemed it a recovery stroke anyway?)  Last week I even got a compliment from Coach M –which I took as high praise considering how hard they are to get from the epitome of swimming perfectionism– that I had a “nice long stroke.”

So instead of seeing a deer in headlights or pile of body imperfections when I suit up, now I see hard earned muscles, confidence, and a smile.  I see someone who is looking forward to her swim and embracing the sport. I can truly say that now I feel most badass when I wear my swimsuit and cap.  It takes more guts to swim than to run- for me at least! That is what I appreciate in the person looking back at me.Image

Which is why I don’t care about the number on the scale or the size of my clothes.  I know my body is healthy and strong. I also know that I am doing my best, and that is all anyone could ever ask of me- including myself.  My favorite pair of workout capris are bright orange with polka dots and they highlight the cellulite dimples in the back of my legs.  Guess what? I don’t care. I still wear them because I love the color.  Plus, I am pretty sure no one else is going to notice, and if they do they should probably be more concerned with their own workout anyway.  I have become aware recently of how much more obvious our imperfections look to us than they do to others, and I am making a conscious choice to not let my insecurities dictate how I feel about myself or the way I look.  When I wear my orange pants I am proud that I am not covering up my flaws.  Instead, I’m saying this is me; and I am confident, strong, and happy with my body.  I am also saying “You should be too.”

Do yourself a favor and love your body today.  Appreciate it for everything it has done for you, and marvel at what it allows you to accomplish.

PS. You still have a few days left to enter for a Free 2014 Spartan Race Entry!  You’ll have a a whole new appreciation of your body after completing one!

Becoming A Grown Up (And My Grown Up Bucket List)

“…Let me be something every blessed minute.

And when I sleep, let me dream all the time so that not one little piece of living is ever lost.” 

― Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

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Hello Everyone!

You may or may not have noticed some subtle (and not so subtle) changes going on with this blog as of late.  You see, given that I am now married, discussing family planning, and working as supervisor it seems like my life has finally transitioned from that weird in between stage (where you are on your own but really only responsible for yourself) to official grown up.  In that spirit, I thought it was time for The Running Thriver to become more grown up too.

Over the past few years I’ve been blogging, I feel like I have finally come to a place where I have found my voice (big surprise: it’s kind of snarky) and know what direction I want to take this site.  Within the past few months I’ve learned a tremendous amount about how to customize my blog appearance, edit and create my own graphics, and use new social media outlets (twitter, instagram, pinterest… my head is still spinning!) all in an effort to make this blog completely my own and use it to reflect who I am as a person (and blogger!).  

As much as I loved the paisley (I may find a way to incorporate it back in yet!), there is more to me than a pre-designed layout.  My personality and voice are unique, so my blog appearance should reflect the same.  I started with something simple and little by little I am making it my own.  BTW I would love to hear your suggestions and feedback throughout the process! 

My monumental accomplishment for today was adding social media buttons (present above my gravatar… which PS. now links to my “About Me” page. Who’s awesome? That’s right, me! jk… It’s actually kind of pathetic how badly I struggle with these things.)  See them. Use them, Love them.  If you don’t, I will have wasted several hours of my life that I will never get back.  

Anyhow, as you all know updating this blog has been something that has been on my To Do List for quite some time.  So, now that I am in the process of tackling the major revamp, I thought I’d share some other items on my Grown Up Bucket List:

  • Publish a book– Of course not just publish a book, but become a New York Times best seller.  Then I can take the proceeds from the book and provide scholarships for other victims of trauma to live their dreams.  No, I am not kidding.  Go big or go home people!  I am going to share my story and inspire the masses that they too can chase their dreams, regardless of athletic prowess or coordination (or lack there of…)
  • Start a Non-Profit– Because someone needs to be in charge of coordinating and handing out the scholarship money.  If the best seller thing doesn’t come through, I may need to win the lottery for this one.  On the plus side, at least I have my life figured out should I ever strike it rich.
  • Start a Family– For the record, these are not in order of importance.  Also, it turns out I am not pregnant (yet) just crazy, as previously expected (I finally got my period and it snowed today. Happy Monday to me!  I know, TMI).  I may need to see a doctor if this continues… the weird symptoms that is, not the lack of pregnancy.
  • Run an Ultra in an Exotic Location– Well maybe not super exotic because I’m not really into humidity and giant bugs, but I wouldn’t mind Tuscany or Ireland
  • Vacation at the Sandals Resort in St. Lucia– Why? Because we never had a honeymoon, and if we did have one that was where I wanted to go.
  • Finish a 50 Miler– This one should be totally obvious since I have already done a 50K 😉
  • Maybe Try a 100 Miler– I refuse to commit to this dream at this time
  • Finish a Half Ironman– I am clearly dedicated to this one if I stuck with swimming in spite of Coach M kicking me out of class and telling me to get a refund.
  • Finish a Full IronmanThis one is going to happen before I die!
  • Become a Marathon Swimmer– That’s right, I said it out loud… or typed it anyway.
  • Get Comfortable on My Bike– Preferably before the Half and Full Ironman…
  • Qualify for the Boston Marathon– At the rate I am going I may be able to qualify at age 80… if I don’t get any slower by then…
  • Meet Diana Nyad Because she is AMAZING, I admire her, and I am secretly hoping to become a better swimmer by being in her presence.
  • Meet Meredith Atwood (Swim Bike Mom)– Also AMAZING, and I’d like to thank her in person for the book.  I’d prefer not to meet her though until after I’ve written my book or completed an Ironman because otherwise it will just look creepy and stalker-ish
  • Complete an Un-Assisted Pull Up– I am SOOOOOO close…  It’s going to happen. This will be my year!
  • Compete in a Body Building Competition– It’s probably the only time I will get on track with my nutrition and eat enough calories in a day.  Plus, I think it’d be a great challenge.
  • Climb Mount Kilimanjaro– The Hubs is on board with this.  We just need to find extra couple thousand dollars for funding…
  • Live on a Lake– Luckily the Hubs also has this one on his Bucket List.
  • Become a Fitness Instructor/Coach– Just part-time, you know, because I don’t have enough else going on…
  • Be a Guest on Oprah or Ellen (probably Ellen… there’s more dancing and oh maybe I could meet that girl who raps Nicki Minaj…) Clearly this would have to happen after becoming a best selling author 
  • Place First in My Age Group– Just once… maybe when I’m 80 and qualify for Boston.
  • Make an Impact– Before I die I want to do something to leave my mark.  I want to have helped to make the world a better place.

That’s all I have for now… I’m sure I’ll think of others after I hit publish.  

What’s on your Bucket List?

Any in common?  

How about a Spartan Race?  

You know I do still have that free race entry, and we are only 9 likes away from starting the giveaway.  I think you should all head over to like my Facebook Page through my new social media button and take note of the “Giveaway” tab while you’re there.  

9 MORE LIKES PEOPLE! That’s all that’s separating you and the chance for an EPIC RACE EXPERIENCE!    

Tell your friends, tell your neighbors, tell random strangers.  The sooner we get to 200 likes, the sooner I can make one of you a very happy fellow thriver.  And for those of you who enter but don’t win, I also have a link for a discount code.  

In the meantime, I hope you are all having a very Happy Monday! 

Because I couldn’t help myself…

Pregnant or Just Crazy?

“Have i gone mad?

I’m afraid so, but let me tell you something, the best people usually are.”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

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For the record, this may be the only thing I accomplish today (other than my leg workout with the trainer, vacuuming, and napping).  It’s a far cry from my grandiose plans for the day: workout with the trainer, swim, bike, run, clean the house, fit in time with the husband and the family, and of course establish a plan for Thriver World Domination world peace…  Instead I came back from the gym at 9 am and curled back into bed.  At noon I ate lunch and dragged myself to the couch.  It was truly a sad display.  For the umpteenth time in the past 3 weeks, I am too dizzy and nauseated to function… let alone change the world.  Unlike the past few weeks, today I was too dizzy to even stand up straight- just sitting still the room spins.  It pretty much sucks.  

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Which leads me to why I am going crazy…

For the past several weeks, I have been crampy, bloated, having random bouts of nausea and dizziness (primarily in the morning or if I wait too long to eat), extreme fatigue (ie. sleeping half the day), and heartburn … wtf is up with that? I’ve NEVER had heartburn in my life!  Did I mention I am also 2 weeks late?

So I took a pregnancy test… twice… several days apart.  They were both negative.  That means either a) It’s too early for a cheap test to read positive or b) I am totally going crazy because I have been having pregnancy symptoms for a solid 3 weeks…  It’s also possible that I have some other weird medical ailment like a brain tumor causing my symptoms, but that’s far less likely than the first two, right?

This morning at the gym, I was really making the trainer nervous because he could see how hard I was struggling to keep the room in focus.  Yesterday after swim class I was so dizzy and lightheaded I thought I was going to pass out on my way out and was terrified to drive home.  The nausea alone has become so bad that one of my coworkers wrote me a prescription for zofran yesterday.  Today my mother showed up with sea bands and medication for vertigo.  

Of course I still feel like crap.  If I am not pregnant, then I think I am legitimately going crazy.  I know I’m not over training because I have been taking rest days and if anything scaled back some.  I also have been eating more and staying hydrated.  I feel like if it was my body adjusting to being off birth control then this would have started months ago.  So basically pregnant and crazy are the only two viable options left in my mind.  My mother wants we to have a blood test drawn, but my new insurance sucks and I don’t want my PCP to think I’m a lunatic if it’s negative.

In the meantime, I am super frustrated about being incapacitated so frequently.  I am not someone who gets sick frequently.  I’m also not someone who can handle doing nothing or skipping workouts (I know, another shocking admission!).  I am used to living life a million miles and hour and getting nine hundred tasks accomplished a day.  This is so beyond unacceptable in my book.  I have things to do people!  This world isn’t going to just save itself!

Maybe with all my newfound time on the couch I can at least get started on that book… 

PS. I got promoted a lane in swim class again… primarily due to the fact that we were crammed into 2 lanes instead of 3 or 4.  On the bright side, I survived! Take that Mystery Illness!