Least likely to be athletic

I’ve had a few comments over the last couple of days that really made me think, or I should say laugh. Someone said I must have been a star athlete in high school. A lot of people said to me over the years that they could never run a marathon. They only wish they were as athletic as me. Their idea of a marathon is Netflix, etc..

I suppose if you met me now you would assume that I was always this way. Now I am a lean and muscular marathon runner aspiring to run my first 50k. Before, well sometimes you just have to laugh.

I was that scrawny little kid that ALWAYS was picked last to be on someone’s team. It always hurt when pickings got slim. Which loser would be picked last to be on the winning team? That internal debate of the team captain on who would suck the least of the last remaining few always showed through the frown on their face. I wonder if kids are still allowed to pick their own teams in gym class?

I was the ONLY girl that tried out for cheerleading in middle school that didn’t make the team AND didn’t make the alternate list.

True story, in middle school I had to write book reports on sports to pass gym class.

You could say I sucked. I didn’t have a trophy case full of ribbons and medals. My high school years were certainly not my glory days. I lived the worst years of my life in my childhood.

But now, I actually feel sorry for people that say their high school years were the best times of their lives.

I became an athlete as an adult because that is what I wanted to be. I still think it is funny when people assume I’ve always been this way. I also think that it is funny when people say that they could never run a marathon because they are not athletic enough.

We are capable of doing whatever we tell ourselves we can (or can’t). All you have to do is take the first step. It is never too late to be the person you want to be. Look at me, least likely to be athletic then is a marathon runner now.

 

 

Goal 1: Run a 50k/work out more

I may have mentioned this before, but this year I want to go to Hell. There is a 50k ultra race in Hell. Then I would like to get my first tattoo…Outrunning my demons in Hell 50k.

I started this blog originally because I read a book created from a blog about someone training for their first marathon. I thought that blogging would be fun along with running my first marathon. Then I also started talking about my demons. It has been a great process. Since this all started, I finished my 4th marathon and slayed 2 demons.

Running has been a very therapeutic way of dealing with the stress in my life. But I want to do more. I want to run further. I want to be stronger in other areas as well. This week I started a strength training class. Once we get more snow, I want to go cross country skiing. I want to do Zumba just because it is fun. Now that I don’t have a job, I have more time to exercise. I want to exercise 5 days a week and spend one day a week just cleaning my house…so basically working out 6 days a week.

If I know one thing about myself, it’s that I love to keep busy. But I also know that if I push myself too hard I could hurt myself. I’m not sure how long I will be able to keep up this pace either as I continue on the path of aging.

I really wonder how many long distance endurance runners are outrunning their demons?? I fear someday I may have to face what I am running from.

I want to be strong enough that I could live without it if I have to. I don’t want exercise to control me either. But that is another goal altogether..

 

Biking the rat race

This morning I thought I would go for a bike ride at first light. My kids already left for school and I thought that maybe for once working out wouldn’t conflict with work.

It wasn’t my best idea. I got caught up in the rat race of people rushing to get to work and school.

I had to slow down for the neighboring school’s buses. I counted 4 buses on my(?) route. Several passed me before stopping in front of me to pick up kids.

What would I do if I can’t unhook my shoes from the pedals?

I slowed down for a bus stop, then had to speed up because there were dogs out.

Interval training at its best.

Everyone that wasn’t on the road seemed to be letting their dogs out for the morning. Will they chase me??

I learned several things…First, the neighboring school district has nicer buses than ours. Second, I now know the garbage pick up schedule.

If I did fall off my bike surely everyone and their neighbor would see me….school children, moms holding hands of children waiting for the bus, and people taking out the trash. Maybe I would fall in a dumpster. Maybe I would get hit by a car, garbage truck, or bus.

There were wild turkeys grazing on the side of the road. I couldn’t hug the shoulder. I couldn’t hug the middle of my lane as the cars whizzed past..

Biking kind of makes me feel stressed out..

Why do I even do this anymore?

That’s right, I spent a lot of money on the bike.

It was a cool and windy day…soon it will come to an end and my bike will be put away for the winter…then next spring I will start all over again…but I probably won’t be biking the rat race anymore… I mean, I didn’t even get a participation award..

Locker room talk

I’ve spent a lot of time at the gym the last few months. I have become well acquainted with the locker room.

The locker room that I use at the gym is for adults only. Of course, rules aren’t necessarily always followed. It really drives me nuts when a mom brings in screaming toddler. They have a separate parent child locker room for that. Seriously, I work out to relax!

Or better yet, when a mom brings in a little boy that gawks at the naked ladies. They have a separate locker room for that too, mixed gender parent and child.

Seriously, I get it. I was once the mom that anxiously awaited outside the boys locker room and men’s bathroom for my son to emerge. It was scary the first few times…Is that your little guy in there? I helped him reach the paper towels. Don’t worry, he should be out soon..

It has become a pet peeve of mine when these rules are not followed. Frankly, it doesn’t bother me if teens use the women’s locker room. Of course, it may be scary for them to view a real woman’s body. I have yet to see anyone that looks like a Victoria’s Secret model stumble in. And these are the women that work out at the gym!

Not that I sit around and look or anything…

I’ve always wondered why when the locker room is totally empty except for one person that I end up having the naked lady using the locker next to mine. It happened last night. Uncanny…no, not really..lol.

Of course I always use proper locker room etiquette. I look with my eyes to navigate to my locker. If I happen to see someone naked, I drop my eyes to my feet like I am in an elevator. I may even hum elevator music softly in my head.

Sometimes I even use the locker room when the group of developmentally disabled come in from the group home. It doesn’t really bother me. Although it was a little uncomfortable when the first naked lady came up to me and complimented me on my  physical attributes or articles of clothing as I was putting it on. Hello, I don’t have any pants on and you’re naked.

Seeing the very nice group home ladies always reminds me of my brother…This is where the story gets very twisted…I’m in the locker room naked thinking of my brother! It makes me sad to think that my brother could be standing in the men’s locker room doing the same thing. It bothers me that his responses are not socially appropriate…like farting in an elevator. These ladies are probably someone’s sister…They don’t know what they are doing, but we can see..As a special needs sibling, I understand. I feel compassion and respect for them although it hurts me that they act that way. It’s a strange feeling..

It reminds me of other times…my daughter’s high school play…Matt in the bathroom using the urinal…grunting (Tourette’s) doing pelvis thrusts to dry himself (sensory issues)..a classmate freaked out…laughing…a weird man in the bathroom..hitting on me?…odd behavior…should I call the cops?…wouldn’t be the first time…my brother…no dignity…it hurts.

Sometimes the locker room is the hardest part of my work out. It elicits feeling of annoyance or sadness. I never expected that..

Mile 20 of the show

The last time we talked, I was feeling apprehension about the opening weekend of the musical. It wasn’t about stage fright or worrying about whether or not I knew my songs or lines. It seemed to go a lot deeper than that.

The last show that I was in was back in 2011. I was in my mid-30’s and I had some really awesome parts. I built up a rather large fan base. I wore some really beautiful dresses.

As luck would have it, I was the oldest female that auditioned for this show. The part that I wanted was given to a 17 year old. Feeling old bites, especially after being given the old lady parts. In my mind but not in the mirror, I am still young and beautiful. Don’t they see me as I do?

I have been teased endlessly for my costumes. At first I was angry. One of the costumes I wear was owned by a woman before she had bariatric surgery. I was not kidding when I said that I had to wrap the belt around me twice. Over the weekend, I learned to laugh at myself too. Although it is one of my least favorite shows, the cast and director have been phenomenal.

Over the weekend, I had a few moments for self-examination. Paul and I have the same problem, we tend to be the type that takes on too much. Then we get overwhelmed with the choices that we make. I realized that if I ever train for a full Ironman, there are going to be a lot of things that I am going to have to give up or say no to.

Being in a show is a tremendous time commitment. Many people do not know what it is like until they have done it. Not only are there many hours spent on stage at the theater, there are many hours spent at home memorizing lines and songs. Time that cuts into other time commitments.

Stepping back into community theater after a long hiatus hasn’t been particularly easy. I lost all of my fan base. I am not remembered anymore. The director and most of the cast have never seen me on stage before. The ‘good jobs’ people threw at me as they were passing by on their way out the door don’t mean as much…you should’ve seen me in my hay day…It’s almost like qualifying for the Boston marathon…taking a break from the running scene for years…then being complimented on running a 5k.

This show has forced me to face that I am not young anymore…my looks are fading. I know this sounds incredibly shallow. But it has been difficult for me. To be honest with you, most of the positive attention I received as a child had to do with my looks. It met a lot of emotional needs for attention that went unfulfilled at home. I am learning to live with it like a genius slipping into dementia.

Maybe that is why I slowly switched from beauty to brawn over the past couple of years. It is something I feel I have more control over. It is something that I earned versus a genetic lucky roll of the dice. I feel great. I am starting to see a big separation between those who are active and those who are not. There are people my age who are out of breath climbing the stairs. I get a little winded at about mile 18 in a marathon.

People say that I am lucky. But this has nothing to do with luck. I earned it.

I don’t expect to live forever or even longer than everyone else my age. I probably won’t be running marathons at 80. But I do expect to live a full and active life until my last days. I expect to have enough endurance to make memories with my grandchildren someday.

Will I ever do another show again?? Yes, perhaps I will if the timing and part is right for me. But if you ever ask me if I plan to run another marathon at mile 20, the answer will always be no.

Running on the last leg

I think my treadmill is on its last leg.

We bought it used almost 2,000 miles ago.

The liner under the belt is starting to unravel. It is coming off in big chunks that look like dust. It almost looks like I don’t use my treadmill or am bad at cleaning my house.

Every time I step on it, the treadmill growls. Seriously, I didn’t gain that much weight over the holidays!

Now I have to hang on to the hand rails when I run because sometimes it stops without warning or catches which might propel me into a wall.

Hey, at least it didn’t start to smoke!

So, I am faced with having to buy a new treadmill or join a gym.

If I join the gym I would actually have to drive a half an hour, share machines with strangers, and shave once in awhile.

But I could bike and swim in the winter. It has been hard to train outside when the lakes are frozen and the roads are icy.

Plus, it would get rid of an ugly piece of furniture(?) in my small house.

There are so many pros and cons to each scenario. I liked having a gym membership, but found it harder to make it work out with my busy schedule.

What do you do to make training easier over the winter??

 

In too deep…again..

In 2016, I kept track of how many miles I ran and biked over the year. I’m sure glad that is over! Keeping track of it all was a lot of work.

Running: 794 miles

Biking: 298 miles

I also did Jillian Michael’s video No More Trouble Zones 15 times. I am happy to report that my trouble zones are now gone. Thanks Jillian!

This past year I achieved my goals of competing in one 5k, one 10k, a half marathon, a full marathon, and my first sprint triathlon.

Now I am looking forward to a new year with very challenging goals.

I tend to like to dip my feet in the water before jumping in all the way.

I am happy to start with a 10k or sprint because I have learned so much before moving on to bigger and better things. The first race I ever ran was a large 10k. The first mile that I ran I was so terrified that I wanted to run off the course and sit down with the spectators. I wasn’t expecting anxiety. I learned from that experience.

I also learned from my first sprint triathlon. I learned how to ride a race bike which is a lot different from the bike I tore around town in as a kid. I am still learning how and when to switch gears. I relearned balance and speed, but not without going into the ditch on a turn. I learned where to bike to avoid cars. I also learned not to hug the ditch after almost hitting a skunk.

I learned that I am not as good of a swimmer as I thought I was. My two months of lessons as an 8 year old never prepared me for this. At race speed, I had a hard time maintaining a rhythmic breathing pattern. I didn’t take into consideration needing to take breaths more often. I was the one floundering around doing the doggy paddle gasping for breath. I also noticed that my left arm is a lot stronger than my right and ended up taking myself into deep water versus staying on course. To go any further with this, I need swimming lessons and a lot more practice.

More lessons learned..

Yesterday, I signed up for my third marathon. I know that I told you to talk me out of it, but it is too late. I also signed up for my first trail half marathon. I am going to do these events with my cousin.

I also mentioned finding a wet suit for myself on clearance. While I was at the fitness store, I ran into the director of a triathlon on Lake Michigan. He said that last year the swimmers faced 1 to 2 foot waves. Half of the participants couldn’t do it. The ones that did felt like they were on a roller coaster ride and not in a good way. Then the participants had to bike in rainy conditions. It was very grueling and many didn’t make it. The sad part was that I didn’t cringe in terror. Something inside of me said sign up. Crazy!?!!

Yesterday I went on the triathlon’s website just for the heck of it. I noticed that the tri was open for less than 24 hours and was nearing full capacity. That is how I ended up signing up for my first half Iron. Now I am absolutely cringing in terror, but excited too.

Looks like I will have more adventures to share with you (lessons to learn)…

The big skinny on weight loss

My 13 year old daughter is on a diet.

I never thought that I would be buying weight loss products. What a racket!!

Now before I get a lot of nasty comments, let me explain. I am not the stereotypical mom depicted on TV. Although I am lean and athletic, I don’t harp on a middle school daughter that has a barely bulge. I don’t replace her chocolates with laxatives. I don’t tell her that she won’t be loved unless she is thin like me.

If I am guilty of anything, it is ignoring that there is a problem. I honestly don’t know what to do. Would you? I have never had issues with my weight before. Sure, there are times that I feel fat. What women doesn’t?

The only time that I struggled with my weight was during pregnancy and right after. Most women do, except for an enviable few. I distinctly remember looking in the mirror after my first baby was born. I felt like I got hit by a truck. I probably looked like it too. But I took a strange pride in my body that was able to produce life. I felt a  connection to my ancestral bearers of life before me.

The most I ever weighed was 186 lbs. That was right before giving birth to my almost 9 lb baby. This is how much my 13 year old daughter weighs right now. She is a few inches shorter than me. Her BMI is borderline obese. Arabella gained 20 lbs since her last physical.

Kids pick on her and call her names like Arafatta and Fattie. It never seemed to bother her before. She even nicknamed her stomach Jab. She was always hungry. She made comments about having to feed Jab. She would eat seconds, snack, and stockpile candy. For her birthday, all of her friends bought her candy. A lot of her weight gain was behavioral and some of it was genetic.

After the kids had their physicals last week, Angel talked Arabella and I into getting measured for body fat, muscle, and metabolic age. I won’t bore you with the details. At 42, I got the body age of 28. At 13, Arabella got the body age of 47 (her dad’s age). She has 10 more inches around her waist then I do. She is over 50 lbs heavier than me.

Arabella wanted to try their weight loss products. Over the weekend, she spent a lot of time exercising and eating healthy. She lost a total of 4 lbs. She said that she feels healthier eating healthy foods.

So here I am supporting my middle school daughter’s weight loss. I don’t want her to have a complex. I don’t want her to tip the scale in the other direction. But I don’t want her to be obese, have health problems, or be ridiculed. The body image of a teenage girl is delicate enough as it is.

I have found with children that I can try to force them to change, but until they really want to change there is not much I can do.

I am happy that Arabella is starting to break bad habits and has decided to make healthier eating choices. The best thing I can do is support healthy decision making. Hopefully, this has more to do with starting healthier habits versus trying to be skinny.

The hard sell

Tonight is opening night for the show. Thankfully, Angel is feeling a little better. She took two days off of school to rest and finally went back today. By tomorrow she should be able to hit her high soprano belt. However, I heard that the main character is sick with a bad case of laryngitis. I am so glad that I am going to see the show next weekend! LOL

Tomorrow morning, I have to get up at 5:30 AM to spend half a day at a trade show for work. It is also supposed to be the warmest day so far this year! Oh well. If my husband wasn’t in the show, he would be going. Instead I will be sitting inside a booth with our sales guy. As operations manager, I will be answering specific detailed questions that he might not have the answers to.

Did you think I was going to be doing sales?? Oh my gosh, no way! At my age, I know myself pretty well. There are not a lot of surprises anymore as far as my strengths and weaknesses go. Sales is not my strong suit. I can’t talk anybody into doing anything. I couldn’t sell a 50 cent cup of lemonade to a millionaire runner on a very hot day. Usually if I really want to convince someone to do something, I send my husband or youngest daughter Arabella. They both are phenomenal at sales. Arabella recently sold 80 candy bars in less than a week. I sometimes have to hold her back. No, you can’t take candy bars to sell at the dentist’s office. LOL I really wish I knew how Paul and Arabella can be so convincing. They both have a gift!

Last year around this time, I went to a women’s retreat. It was all about our different roles as women and the spiritual gifts that we have been given. We had to choose our top 5 gifts from a list. A majority of the women said that they had the gift of being caring, giving, compassionate, and empathetic. Not me! Then I started feeling bad because I didn’t seem to fit in with the rest of the women. Some of the gifts that I had were being discerning, disciplined, and athletic. Well, whoop di do!

When someone is hurting, these women come over bearing gifts of food, giving hugs, and crying with them. Again, not me. I am the one that says that they should’ve seen it coming. While you are at it, drop down and give me 20 push ups! Damn it, pull yourself out of it and fight it. Well, maybe I’m not exactly like that but that is sometimes what I think. I asked everyone what good my gifts are. I mean they only seem to benefit me. But someone said that was not true. She said that I motivate others to be healthier.

Then I noticed a few other things. A couple of months after visiting my friend in Texas, she started training for a marathon. When I saw her, she was overweight and out of breath walking a couple blocks. Now she is into eating healthy, weight loss, and training for a marathon. Coincidence? I honestly don’t know. Another non running friend mentioned lately about wanting to give running a try. 

I asked Paul today why it seems like I can’t sell anything but people want to do things I’m doing without trying to sell them on it. Paul said it was all about being passionate about what I do. So I hope that tomorrow I am passionate about work. 

 

 

My 1st transition from biking to running

It was a warm spring like day. You know the kind. It was mostly cloudy with temps in the 40’s with a light breeze. The warmest day predicted for this week. Perfect day to try out my new bike and learn a few lessons.

The first thing that I did was find an old helmet. Then I dressed like I was going to go for a run. That was mistake number one! I put on a hat underneath my helmet. I sure looked like a clown. I didn’t notice that any neighbors took off of work for the occasion. So, who cares?

I decided to go for a 6 mile bike ride to break in my bike. Everything went great, except that I was absolutely freezing. I had forgotten how much of a wind biking creates. I felt like I was running against a 25 mph wind on a cool day. The faster I went, the colder I got. My hands became red and swollen. Was that a little frost bite coming on? Even though I budgeted an hour and a half lunch break, I was off on that. I had to stop indoors for a few minutes to warm up. My ears were cold and my fingers were tingling.

After the 6 mile bike ride, I decided to transition over to a 5 mile run. Running was rather interesting. After getting off of the bike, I felt like I couldn’t walk straight. Almost like I spent the day sailing. My equilibrium felt slightly off. Watch out, dizzy blonde runner! I felt like I had a couple shots of whiskey after roller skating for a couple of hours. It took about a mile to retrain my body to run like normal. I had to tell myself several times that I know what I am doing since I have been running for years. I was able to complete my run like normal, but it was a slow start.

I probably won’t be doing too much biking in the next couple of weeks. My main focus right now is getting ready to run a marathon in May.

***Note to self***So far on my first transition I learned a few very important lessons. First, dress a lot warmer than I would if I was running. Second, it make take longer then an hour and a half especially if I do not dress right. Third, I have to retrain myself mentally to run.