We Have a Winner!

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Typically I have several ongoing posts in varying stages of completion. It’s rare I feel compelled to hurriedly write a post for quick upload. And I like to protect mine and my family’s privacy so events and things reported here are most likely at least a week behind.

But today I have something important to share! On Monday, I received an email stating I was one of 30 first prize winners in a contest hosted by Brooks – a well-known running shoe and apparel company headquartered in Seatle, Washington. I love their brand and run in their shoes, specifically the Adrenaline GTS. Huge fan, if you can’t tell.

These are but a few

My first thought was I’ve been spammed because who actually ever wins these contests? No one I know. I verified the email came from the company Brooks was using to distribute prizes, completed the information, and refused to believe it could be true. Later, I browsed the Brooks website to see if anything substantial had been posted. Ask and ye shall receive.

I found my submission complete with photo I had uploaded for the 20 Year Drop contest. I may have screamed out loud, saved 40+ screenshots of the page, and called my parents. Does this mean I’m famous?!

Screenshot 1 of a lot

So what’s the prize, you ask? Only something incredible! I won a free pair of Adrenaline GTS shoes every year for the next 20 years. 20 years!!! I’ll be almost 54 years old then. I hope I’m still running at that age. Running my mouth, definitely. Running on fumes, absolutely!

A huge thank you to Brooks for creating a shoe literally designed for PR’s, as well as a contest with real people who can win. I never knew such a thing existed.

Unbelievable as this story is, because of course that’s how most of my life has been, credit be to the perfect one watching over me. Everything in my life has changed since I accepted that my spiritual health is even more important than I ever believed. Another bullet point in my testimony.


I ask you –

Have you ever won a contest? If not, know anyone who has?

Does this mean I need to play the lottery?

Share a story of spiritual life!

Split Training

Now that I’m not running as much, at all really, I’ve carved out some time each day to strength train. Something I noticed toward the final weeks of my last training cycle was my hamstrings seemed to be much weaker than ever before. This may also be the reason I developed a “pulled” inner thigh muscle during Day 1 of the Texas Double. I’m not a doctor; just fairly certain this is what happened and why. So in the off season, I’ve committed to strengthening my whole body to prepare for whatever race I want to do next. If you’ve been following along, my previous posts are about an upcoming opportunity but I’ve not made a final decision yet.

Balance and grace

All this being said, I was originally trained using a split training program, i.e. a different body part is trained each day with at least a full 24 hours of rest between muscle groups. Even though I know this isn’t the only way to strength train…and maybe not the best way anymore…I still function well under these types of workouts. I also experience the most strength and muscle-building results. My real problem is I get so dedicated to one way of doing something I tend to forget to incorporate other aspects of training, like running. I’m a give-it-all-I’ve-got-but-only-to-one-thing type of girl. It borders on obsessive but I didn’t ask for your opinion. Was that mean? I’m sorry. Now I’ve forgotten where I was going with this conversation.

Oh yes. I’m back! Split training gets a bad rap because it’s very unilateral. Think about it. Anyone anywhere can have all the gym equipment they want. With a big enough garage or home, you can purchase every bench and dumbbell available to use at your leisure. Those people who walk around in a very hulk-like manner that can’t touch their toes or lay their arms flat against their sides? Good for them, but is that the definition of true fitness? They can lift a car. Can they pick up a pen off the floor? If they needed to run across the parking lot in the rain, would they be gasping for air?

The tiny tricep

All good questions, none of which I can answer. Every body is so different. Mine just happens to respond well when I give each part of me my undivided attention for approximately 45 mins/day. Even my mental health needs one-on-one attention. But even with all this attention focused on my needs, the body wants what the body wants. And mine really wants to run. This morning I woke up moody and craving peanut butter. That’s my typical PMS symptoms, for anyone who didn’t care to know. To combat the grumpiness, I walked on the treadmill for about an hour. It helped. While walking, it occurred to me I miss running. Even with the break I said I would take and the strength training goals I have, nothing compares to that feeling of your heart’s rhythmic beating and the sound of your feet propelling you forward. Except for people who loathe this kind of thing.

A happy medium exists somewhere for someone. Maybe not me, not yet. Perhaps this was the answer I was waiting for in order to commit to the triple endeavor. Even when I can’t wait for the training cycle to be over, it only takes a few weeks for the itch to run to return. Or else I really need to work on running and lifting at the same time.

___________________

I ask you –

Do you ever have a need to DO something?

Split training fan or no? If not, what training methodology do you subscribe to?

No apologies for oversharing. Get over it.

Snow Day! (but not for all of us) + Other News

Lake effect

As you can guess by now, the drive impacts many portions of my life, including work. So with personal things going on plus the chance for copious amounts of snow and ice, the decision was made for me to work from home. Good thing, too, because the Texas weather dictated a few hours of ice before the snow which makes driving obviously treacherous. As I stared out the kitchen window from the safe and warm confines of today’s workplace, i.e. my kitchen table, I hear children playing while the snow pelts the lake behind my house. It’s definitely beautiful, but I’m lucky to not have to be out in it.

Unfortunately for my co-workers, the snow in my part of Texas did not share its presence with them. A mere 2 hours away, all they’ve received is rain and above-freezing temperatures. Sucks for them. Sort of. This precarious balance of weather, work, and life brings me to my other news.

Do they make seat warmers for outdoor furniture?

I have resigned from my position within Anytime Fitness. The drive and the toll it has taken on my mental well-being came to a point I can no longer handle. I’m fairly certain if not for the car accident a few weeks ago, I would still be making the commute. To be clear, I love my career in fitness, especially with Anytime Fitness. The opportunities I have been presented overwhelm my heart and soul. The stories I’ve been blessed to hear, the incredible people I’ve met, and the generous work of my owners and their family will not be forgotten. This journey in fitness will continue for me and them but in separate capacities. These past 9 months have been incredible.

Do people still use pencils?

So what will I do now? I’m not fully certain at this point. Not drive? There are some other career passions on the horizon for me, I’m sure. I will regain the confidence necessary to drive in all weather conditions. And I will never take for granted the relatively simple task of traversing the roadways with other drivers. Also, I will continue blogging, right here, same time as always. These posts have become a sort of therapy for me – many emotions have splayed across these pages. I try to share the obvious, the not so obvious, and the deeper parts of myself in hopes I can reach others who may be struggling, too.

Thanks to each one of you, I believe life is a series of stepping stones. Some are slippery and covered in mud; others are a brilliant square of marbled beauty.

________________

I ask you –

Do you play in the snow or stay inside?

How much hot cocoa is enough?

Tell me your career passions. Entrepreneurs?

Cultural Norms of Fitness

Badminton in Bangladesh?! Sign me up! I adore badminton. It was one of those childlike sports I truly excelled at. Of course, my only competitor was my sister and it was the only sport offered in our front yard, but hey…

Racket and shuttlecock – technical terms

For Chinese culture, fitness is considered more about socializing than what we traditionally refer to as working out.

In Columbia, Sunday’s may well be reserved for runners and cyclists to take to the streets.

In begs to be stated and cannot be overlooked, most fitness-related activities and sports in general are attended to by young men. Women may have not caught on to the pension for fitness; more likely the female population has yet to be allowed to partake in “men’s sports”. A few publications tell the story of social inequality when it comes to fitness, particularly the ability/inability for a certain race/sex/culture to gain access to standardized “fitness” facilities. However, with many gyms offering a range of price points, I think it difficult to concede there’s not a financial option for most people. That being said, I’ve not experienced this in any other place except the United States. What happens elsewhere I have no idea. I would hope gym discrimination isn’t a thing though.

From here to there

From the well known bodybuilders to athletes of other sports, fitness has served well to bring us together. Imagine the Olympics and the New York City Marathon. Global athletes come together to do what they do best and we cheer them on from the comfort of our couches and speak about them in the office like we’re their biggest fans. Because we are! Fitness unites humankind in a basic way. Athletics is now big business. Sure, we can debate all day about the sheer amount of money thrown at major league and professional athletes but what they do is extraordinary and can’t be taken lightly. Sports and fitness are entertaining, at the very least. But what about the little people?! Like me and you!

Our world has undergone so many changes from societal norms to viewpoints. It’s incredible but also very overwhelming. The people I meet share one thing: their stories. Each has a gift. What it looks like varies widely. But it’s their gift to be shared at their choosing. I count myself as one of the lucky ones to be able to have an opportunity to simply listen with my heart and eyes wide open. Fitness may look like nothing I’ve ever seen from one country to the next. But fitness unites us all in a basic way.

___________________

I ask you –

Have you experienced a gym or sport in another country? Tell me about it!

For you travel bugs: any place you’d like to (re)visit?

Where’s my badminton players?! – I excel so beware!

There is nothing noble in not asking for help, pt 1

You don’t get extra credit by not asking for help. Profound! I wish I had lived by this many years ago – when I thought it was the right thing to do to always do it on my own, never asking for help, always anxious and frustrated I couldn’t get it all done.

I felt like a failure. Today I stand, errr sit? perch?, before you and tell you it’s ok to ask for help. More than this, it’s imperative you ask for help. Be it by seeking a coach, a trainer, a loved one, a therapist, whatever and whoever. Just ask for help.

More and more, I notice the prevalence of our human nature to refuse help. If it’s enough for my young mini-me to ask for help, then why is it wrong of me to do the same? We encourage the generations after us to seek help for their problems – yet we rarely follow our own advice. Why is this?

The inside is like a well seasoned pot – or a cup you’d find on the mess decks

Even though the aforementioned mini-me is a self-proclaimed EXPERT at everything, there is zero expectation to live up to the hype. But not beating ourselves up is much more difficult. I know I’m right.

Day after day, night after night, I confess the many benefits of personal training. I tell my story and listen to theirs. And I remind them I didn’t find my own wellness until I sought help. Ultimately, you never know what you can do until you ask. As a member is always telling me, “You don’t know what you don’t know.” And I know asking for help doesn’t make me weak.

_______________

I ask you –

Do you have a problem asking for help?

Often times, help is free. The only cost is commitment. What is your barrier to asking?

Have you ever asked for help for something huge in your life?

20/20

I can’t stop laughing at the jokes about people wishing Barbara Walters would host the New Year’s Eve ball drop in Times Square because then she’d say “And this is 2020” or something to that effect. Puns are my favorite.

*giggle*

Since the fitness industry can feel like it revolves around capitalizing on the human population’s desire to commit to resolutions and those resolutions typically happen on New Years Day and most, if not all, Mondays, it would be wrong of me to tell you this isn’t really my favorite time of year. But it’s really not. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. I believe each and every person who walks into the gym January 1st has the very best intention to get their health in order, to make the steps it takes to change their life, and to reach all the goals they’ve set. I truly believe it. But if I could change one thing, it would be to inspire them to change their life before it gets to this point. Before another Monday sneaks up on us. Before another decade arrives. Before they’re at the point of no return. As I am a realist yet also a dreamer, this is conflicting.

However, before you discount my ramblings as sheer cynicism, please remember I believe in you. I believe you can do this without me, but if you need help, I’m with you on your journey. My faith is unwavering. My words are upbeat and kind. I will cry and laugh with you. Occasionally, I’ll even be stern with you. Because I believe you can do this.

“This” doesn’t always refer to joining a gym. I believe you can do anything. Read it again and yell it out loud for those talking in the back. I BELIEVE YOU CAN DO ANYTHING! Anything! You want to be a master sculptor? Do it! You want to complete an Ironman? Go for it! Time for a job change? (Are you a personal trainer? Call me!) 2020 is a time for celebration because it just is. Because why not?! And 2020 looks really cool when you write it so I think the reason speaks for itself.

Told ya!

My goals: peak performance, write, and do hard things. Not necessarily in any order. More like circular goals. Nonetheless, the old ways aren’t working – time to try something new.

______________

I ask you –

What are your resolutions?

If you don’t believe in resolutions, tell me something you plan to do this year.

What year was your best? (physical best, most accomplishments, etc.)

Goals of the Superstitious Variety

Page Turner

After chatting with some pretty amazing trainers (courtesy of Anytime Fitness, of course) on the topic post-race season goals, I mentioned wanting to really focus on nutrition. With a propensity to not eat enough, I knew I would need a plan that encourages me to eat and build muscle.

So a new goal was born! Keto helped me regain confidence in my body after baby, but I know I can do more. I have a short torso and long legs. I know this means nothing to you. But every woman knows a postpartum body is much different than anything before. Things change. Add breastfeeding to that and whoa! In an attempt to be transparent (I hate that word, can we just say tell the truth?!), I believe some may think I’m training for a competition. To be wildly clear, I am definitely not. But I am fascinated about enticing my body to respond in that way.

The road sign of my life

Like everything, I’ll keep you all updated right here on this journey of lean body mass. So step aside naysayers! The only stage I’m rocking is the comedy club in my head!

___________________________

I ask you –

Goals? New or old?

Thoughts on competitive fitness?

Do you consider yourself superstitious?

My New Holiday Jingle!

I really do!

It’s the most runderful time of the year!

There will be Saturdays for sleeping

And friends for some meetings

Without having to go.

We can toast to a break

I promise I won’t make

Anymore plans with the excuse of FOMO!

With the treadmill off

No one will scoff

When I say it’s only 10 miles.

No more tales of the wall

And I can’t find my tension ball

My legs are now all smiles!

The long runs are over and the weather is colder and my family finally comes near!

It’s the most runderful time of the yearrrrrrrr!

___________

I ask you –

How long should I wait for a record deal?

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Daniel Tiger-style

The sign also flashes but I was standing in their yard and I didn’t want to be caught trespassing

“Rest is best, rest is best!” When I tried to find a photo of Daniel Tiger, a bottle of Jack Daniels popped up so maybe that’s the only sign you need.

Much conversation exists on the power of rest. Mental, physical, spiritual – rest binds us. It replenishes our entire body; burning the candle at both ends has been shown to decrease productivity and your ability to fight disease, among many other awful side effects.

You may have nutrition down to a science and you regularly work out, but aren’t seeing the results you deserve. Check your sleep patterns. I often encounter men and women who tell me they sleep, on average, 4 hours or less per night. WHAT?! When I recover from my shock, which has ceased because I hear this response a lot now, I ask what the reasons behind not sleeping are. Work. Family. Stress. Life. Stress about all of the above. So you’re telling me you’re stressed and not sleeping stresses you out even more so the cycle continues? Pretty much.

A common misconception is the ability to “make up” sleep. I’m guilty of this, too. As a teenager, out all night doing things we shouldn’t discuss, I figured it was okay because I could just take a long nap on Sunday and be caught up for the new week! Yeah right. Once the sleep schedule is disrupted and you’re consistently not getting enough sleep (recommended 7-8 hours nightly) then it’s gone. There’s no make up day to this portion of the test. We have failed. The only way to recover is to establish a sleep routine and stick with it.

Time refuses to stand still

As it always goes, this is easier said than done. I firmly believe some people are night owls and some of us are destined for early mornings and 8pm bedtimes. If you can’t see me waving my hands in the air, look closer. I really wish I understood this mystery. BUT – I think clocks can be reset with dedication and commitment. Perhaps the addition of a very loud alarm clock helps. In any case, losing sleep is nothing good.

____________________

I ask you –

How much sleep do you typically receive?

Are you a night owl or an early riser?

List some barriers to getting a good nights’ sleep. – Caffeine, a full stomach…

Tis the Season – Meet the Family

For all the ways it could have gone, there were no fistfights, duels, or police presence so that’s saying something. Tell me you have similar fears when your family gets together. Humor me. I had a recurring dream of this very scenario, but what was most telling was the fact I washed my hands of the situation and didn’t engage. This boundary training is going semi-well.

Group photo. Many of these family members I have not seen in over 10 years or more. It was by sheer amazement so many were able to be here this Thanksgiving. Definitely owe it to my beautiful, inspiring Aunt Mary Catherine – she’s the ring leader.

It only took 16 tries

My siblings and I. Long story short, my brother and I haven’t had the most solid relationship and repair is difficult. However, this photo means so much to me.

buncha’ clowns

My sweet girls. These two have made my whole life complete. I treasure every minute they can spend together. Once Munchkin was able to wrap her mind around the truth she shares her name with her great great aunt, it got much easier! They even have the same birth month. Mind boggling, I know.

Piano sold separately

Lastly, this simple photo of Aunt Mary Catherine and I. She’s 92 years of joy with the heart and soul of a woman who mixes wisdom with the patience of a saint. I can only hope I am a small vision of her selflessness.

The saint and I

Overall, this family “reunion” of sorts was comforting to my mind. It can be so hard to juggle time with family, work, keeping in touch, etc etc etc – some things tend to fall away. I love hearing the stories and seeing the new faces. Much like the fitness industry, things change so quickly…yet everything stays the same. We all want to be heard, seen. And re-charging the batteries in my heart starts right here.

_____________

I ask you –

Share the juiciest details of your family gatherings. Any shockers?!

What family member are you closest to?

Are you re-charged after family holidays? Or more in distress than ever? – it depends on the family, if you ask me!