Sunday, February 21, 2016

Little Black Dress

I wore a Little Black Dress this weekend.

I wore a Little Black Dress that did not come from the Women's section of a store.

I wore a Calvin Klein Little Black Dress.

I felt sexy.

I felt like I looked hot.


I have spent YEARS being frustrated with the lack of progress on my journey to a healthier me.  I have been angry that others start exercising regularly and lose large amounts of weight in just a few months.  While I have taken YEARS to lose the same amount.  There have been a lot of pity parties and "poor me" sessions.

Why can't I be one of those people?

Why does this have to be so hard?

Why me?

And yet, in spite of all the frustrations, set backs, cha cha times (two steps forward, two steps back) and wanting to give up I have managed to keep moving forward.

This is in large part to my wonderful husband, family and friends that love and encourage me when I'm being stupid.

This past weekend my husband and I went for a hike at Silver Creek Falls.  We love this park.  We have been hiking in this park since we were dating.  Lots of memories, as a couple, with friends and running events have happened at Silver Creek Falls.  Sunday it rained the entire time we were out but we are from Oregon so we didn't mind.  :-)

We did a five mile hike that had a lot of what we do for the Silver Falls Trail runs in November.  I ran quite a bit of the flatter sections and felt pretty good.  The different falls were beautiful.  One of the things I love about this park is that every time we visit it is so different than the last time.  When we did the trail runs in November there was a lot of yellow and orange as the leaves were changing color and hadn't all fallen off the trees yet.

This time there was a lot of water running on the trail, many puddles and muddy spots and the different falls were running full and fast.  It was so gorgeous!!
Just a few of the falls that are on the trails at Silver Falls State Park!
One of the areas of the Silver Falls trail runs that I have always struggled with is the stairs. There is a series of stairs after the Lower South Falls.  I do not like these stairs.  The first year I did the Silver Falls Half Marathon I had so pull myself up each step with the handrail and then catch my breath at each landing.  Not fun. It has gotten a tiny bit better each year I participate in this race.  Whether I do the 1/2 marathon or the 7 mile run, this set of stairs is towards the end and is a big obstacle for me, both mentally and physically.  Last fall I was pretty happy because I was able to walk up the stairs at a nice steady pace and didn't have to stop once.  That was an incredibly huge accomplishment for me.

This time I decided to see how far I could trot up the stairs.  I wasn't going super fast by any means but it was definitely more of a quick pace than walking.  I think I got about 2/3's of the way up before I had to slow down to a walk.  I walked the rest but I was very happy with how I did.  The steps at Silver Falls and I have a long history and usually it ends with me feeling fat and frustrated.  This time I ran off feeling a bit bad ass.  Another opportunity to see just how far I have come.

As a teacher I spend a lot of time with my AVID students having them reflect on their learning.  What they learned, what went well, what didn't go well, what they would do different next time, things like that.  I find myself more and more applying that same reflection to my work towards being a healthier me.  This journey has many parallels to my students journey to becoming (I hope) life long learners.  I share freely my failures and successes in the world of exercise so that I can show them that falling down is an opportunity to learn so I can do better next time, not a reason to give up.

Frustrations are normal.

Not feeling successful is normal.

Don't give up!!

It will be worth it in the end!!

In turn, the students help remind me that I need to keep moving forward, even when I want to give up. There have been MANY times where I know that I don't want to go to school the next day and tell the students that I didn't give it my 100% and that is what kept me going.  If I"m going to expect them to give 100% then I damn well better be doing the same thing with my own goals.

My job is supposed to be teaching my students and most days I feel like I learn more from them than I can ever possibly teach them.  That's a bit humbling, for sure!

I have been having a lot of ups and downs about whether or not I can actually do an Olympic Triathlon.  Actually, that's not accurate.  I know I can do one.  I can do each part and piece and cross the finish line.  That's not the part that gets me all in knots.  I want to do more than just finish.  I want to finish well.  I don't just want to finish well.  I want to kick ass.  The reality is I don't want to kick someone else's ass, I want to kick my own.  I want to know that I dug deep, set a really outrageous goal and did everything I could to reach that goal.  I have a lot of work to do between now and July.  But I'm taking it one day at a time.

I have worked really hard the last few years at making sure I was IN pictures instead of always behind the camera TAKING the pictures.  This has been hard for me but I have sucked it up because I realized that I was a part of the moments and deserved to be in the memories.

But I hesitated to put on Facebook the picture of me in my little black dress that was a full body picture.  Then I got to thinking about it and I did the same thing at Christmas.  I wore a mini skirt, a cute red top and black boots and had Meighan take a picture of me and I didn't share it.  Not that I share every picture I take or have taken but I actually like these of myself and yet I didn't post them.

I'm still uncomfortable in my skin.

I still feel like a faker.  Like I'm only pretending to be a smaller size and someone is going to figure out it's all a big hoax.

I know, sounds silly, doesn't it.

So here it goes.

Here is me in my Little Black Dress.
I love this one of my Valentine and me.
I wish we had someone take our picture in the lobby of the hotel.  It was such a beautiful building. We enjoyed spending the evening there. :-)

This is the one at Christmas.  I look at it and see many flaws.  My sweet girl who took it says she loves it because I look beautiful and she loves my smile.  :-)
Wearing a mini skirt!
I've gotten used to getting my picture taken (somewhat).  I've gotten used to getting my picture taken while I'm in all my running clothes.

Now it's time to start getting used to getting my picture taken and being okay with my whole body being in it.

For each thing I learn there are new things that I have to figure out.

Life is a journey.  Might as well enjoy the ride.

Here's our new theme for my AVID classes this year:
That's the plan!
I plan to keep this in mind when I start comparing myself to others or getting down on myself for not doing as well as I want to or think I should.  If I'm giving 100% than it's enough and what my 100% looks like isn't going to be the same as someone else's.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

I Have a Personal Trainer! What? Me?

It's been awhile since my last post.  I've been busy!  (I know, hard to believe, right?)

This past fall I thought a lot about what my goals are and what I want to do next.  This meme came on my Facebook feed and on Pinterest over and over again in different versions while I was doing all this thinking.  I decided to take the hint.  :-)
I decided that I was going to do an Olympic Triathlon next summer.  That scares the crap out of me.  lol  Open water swim that is almost a mile, a 25 mile bike ride and then a 10k.  All one after the other!  Yikes!

Then my husband and I talked about taking it a little farther.  Not as in distance but as in what I want to accomplish at the event.  I don't just want to do an Olympic triathlon and finish last.  Not that it's a bad thing to be last.  I've been last at many running events. I think it is totally awesome to just be able to say "I did that!" and not worry about how fast or slow I did it. (Which has been a very important lesson for me to learn!)  But this time I wanted to be able to say not only did I finish it but I did a kick ass job.

Now, a little bit of a qualifier here.  I don't have expectations on winning or winning my age group.  That's not what finishing and feeling kick ass about it means to me.  What it means is that I want to work really hard at improving my swimming, biking and running so that I know I have done a couple of things.

1.  I got better at all three aspects of a triathlon.
2.  By getting better and working hard to get ready I can do more than just participate.  I can rise to the challenge that I have set for myself.

The bottom line is that I am competing with myself.  I want to know that I didn't just settle for being proud of myself for doing a triathlon. I want to be proud of myself that I not only compete in one but that I worked really hard at doing as good a job as possible. My really good job is probably going to be significantly slower than most of the racers no matter how hard I work.  And I'm totally okay with that....most of the time.  I'm not really competing with them, I'm competing with me.  I know what my best effort looks like.

Part of the problem with getting ready for a triathlon for me has been figuring out how to do all the parts and pieces so that I'm ready.  There are lots of training plans out there online.  My husband has been very willing to help.  But I was finding it difficult to make the online plans work for me. And as much as I know my hubby was trying to help, he tends to say, "You just have to make a plan and stick to it." which is totally true but not really what I needed to make me feel like I would have a successful, functioning training plan in place for me.

Enter Jon.  Jon Booth is a friend of Joe's and a friend of mine vicariously through Facebook.    He works at Peak Sports as a bike fitter part-time and also is a personal trainer.   He runs Pure Health & Fitness Training to help people work at getting to whatever goals they have.  Here is a link to his website so you can check it out:

Joe and I had talked about the possibility of me working with Jon for a couple of months before we actually contacted him to have a meeting.  I was wishy washy about it.  I liked the idea of it but was not a fan of spending the money on me.  Which really is kind of dumb because I would have absolutely no problem or hesitation if Joe wanted to do it.  Time to be okay with doing something for me. So we set up a meeting during my holiday break to talk with Jon to see what it would look like to work with a trainer.

Poor Jon.  lol  I did fine until he asked me to share about my journey so far.  Of course, if you have read this blog for any length of time you know what happened....I cried.  But I really didn't mind terribly because if we were going to start this journey together he needed to know it is something I do, often. :-)

Joe and I went home and talked about it some more and made the decision that I would go for it.  I want to do an Olympic triathlon in July.  I don't just want to be able to say I finished one.  I want to be able to say I kicked ass doing an Olympic triathlon.  This is knowing that my version of kicking ass is still probably considerably slower than most people.  But I know the difference for myself.  :-)

I officially began getting workouts from Jon on December 30, 2015.  We met together, just the two of us this time, to discuss my general fitness in more detail and so Jon could show me stretching exercises he wanted me to start incorporating into my workouts.  We also talked about what I would be comfortable doing each week as far as the amount of time I could realistically spend on working out and what things were really important to me.  A hike on the weekend is important to me.  Whether I go with friends or it's just me and the puppy I love my time in the forest each week. It's one of the things that got me through last year while I was finishing my Masters degree.  I also was very honest that my role as mom trumps everything.  If it comes down to a workout or dropping everything because something comes up with one of my kids (most likely Miss Meighan) then that's what would happen.  I didn't want to feel guilty about that.  I loved that Jon totally understood and respected all the things we talked about.  My workouts all month have had a hike on the weekend.  :-)    We also talked about my swimming and how far I have come with Bri as my coach since last summer.  He said if it's working for me to keep doing it.  He might have some specific workouts he would like me to do later but right now keep working with Bri and work on getting better at the swimming itself.  With all the changes in being accountable to someone it is nice to not have to change everything. :-)  Plus I LOVE that Bri and I do so well together as coach and swimmer considering we are mother and daughter.  That doesn't usually work that well but we have done great (at least I think so) and I enjoy getting the time to yak with my girl. I was worried that I would have to give that up.  I shouldn't have even worried about it.  :-)

I have to admit, it's a little bit intimidating to have someone who you don't know very well seeing each and every workout you do.  At first I was worried and started having all those stupid comparison thoughts.  I bet his other clients are faster, or I bet he thinks I have a LONG way to go to reach my goal.  Then I stopped myself.  Jon is not that way at all!  And I have been working very hard at being proud of where I am at currently but still wanting to push myself to be better.  It has been a long road to get where I am at and trashing that or thinking others are trashing that isn't a productive train of thought.  And it's a totally silly train of thought anyway since I am pretty sure that I'm the only one going down that train track. :-)

My Christmas present from Joe this year was the Garmin 920XT sports watch with heart rate monitor.  I have had it over a month and I'm still learning how it works but it is pretty fun to have.  I love checking out the data after my workouts.  Best part is that I don't have to count laps when I swim anymore!  I always loose track so I love that!
My new toy.  :-)
The information from my Garmin goes right to a TrainingPeaks website that Jon has me on. That's where I go see what he has planned for me and then when it loads he can see how I did.  Easy peasy. Jon has me doing a lot of workouts that are based around heart rate.  It's been a bit of a mental switch for me to change from completely focusing on either speed or distance with running to maintaining different heart levels.  Also, I'm not doing a lot of running.  I'm doing a lot of swimming and biking (mostly on the stationary bike at this point) and a bit of running.  Walking and strength training is also in there too.  I was worried that I would find it all overwhelming.  Especially once I went back to work.

One of the cool things that Jon said right away when we first started talking was that communication was very important.  If things weren't working I needed to tell him.  If I was struggling with something I needed to tell him.  If something came up and caused me to miss a workout, just let him know.  I appreciated that a lot.  I am a big believer that a lot of misunderstandings and frustrations in life can be avoided if people would just say what is going on and be honest.  I let Jon know that I would be driving to Tacoma and spending the night, he made a workout for the weekend that would work with that.  When I got a horrible cold and couldn't go to Tacoma, I let him know I was sick and missed three days of workouts and he totally understood.  I had a day with a migraine that involved getting sick to my stomach.  Did the workout in the morning but couldn't manage the swim that afternoon.  He got it.

Welcome to life. Nice to have the person who is pushing me to make progress understand that I'm not avoiding the workout, unexpected things happen at times.  :-)

The funny part about the workouts that Jon gives me. There have been many that I look at and say, "There is no fucking way I can do that!"  Either the pace or the duration look totally impossible to me.  But I promised myself that I would give everything my best effort and then look at what didn't work and see what I could do different next time.  So far I have been able to do almost everything as Jon as planned.  That's a double edged sword because now I know I can do it (even if it's barely) and that means it's going to get even harder. lol

I got through the entire month of January doing all the workouts that Jon had planned for me and here are the results.

In January I did 43 workouts.  These were a combination of walking (active recovery), strength training, swimming, biking, running, and hiking.  Adding all those activities together Runkeeper broke it down like this.

 32 hours working out.
6,631 of elevation climb.
19,028 calories burned.
151.5 miles.


And that's just the first month! Yikes. Can't wait to see what I can do as I keep going.

At first I discounted some of it because it was walking or strength training.  But then I thought that was stupid. It's part of the plan to help me get to my goal, I'm doing it, so counts. :-)

It hasn't all been easy and there have been days where I just want to skip a workout.  But other than the days I have been truly sick I have done them all.  I'm pretty proud of that.

I have also gone on social runs and yesterday did a track workout with a bunch of people that I really don't know who all are working with Jon as well.  Very nice people. But doing that is WAY out of my comfort zone so I am very proud that I have sucked it up and done it.  Especially since Joe has been unable to come along with me and be my buffer.  I have had to pull up my big girl panties and go by myself.  :-) I lived...and it wasn't terrible.  Actually it was totally fine, I just feel self conscious so I make it a big deal in my head.

Jon is the epitome of support and encouragement with the teaching side of explaining what I need to do to improve.  As a teacher I recognize and completely appreciate the balance that he has.  Probably a good thing to have if you are a personal trainer.  :-)

In order to be ready for my Olympic triathlon in July I have signed up for three sprint triathlons this spring.  Some days I think I am going to totally kick ass and other days I throw up in my mouth a little bit when I start thinking about it.  I don't know if that's normal or not but that's where I'm at.  I did one sprint triathlon two years ago and now I'm signed up for three sprints and one Olympic that are all happening in the next six months.  Excuse me while I go take deep breaths in a paper bag for a few minutes.....

Ok, I got this.  :-)  It's all good.  One day at a time, one workout at a time.

Here's what I've got coming:

  • Beaver Freezer, Sprint Triathlon, April 2, 2016.
  • Oregon Dunes. Sprint Triathlon, May 7, 2016.
  • Blue Lake, Sprint Triathlon, June 5, 2016.
  • Tri at the Grove, Olympic Triathlon, July 23, 2016. (The goal!)

And I've signed up and paid for them all so in my mind it's a done deal.  I'm doing them, even if I am freaked out.  lol  All of them except the Beaver Freezer are open water swims.

New goals, new challenges, new experiences.  Moving, once again, out of my comfort zone in order to grow. All good things.  All scary things.  I'm learning that working through the things that are scary come with the biggest rewards down the road.

Bonus aspect.  Sharing these things, setting goals, being scared by those goals, working, failing, trying again and doing my best each step along the way, with my students has been really cool.  I ask them to do a lot of these things at school.  I push them out of their comfort zone, cheer for them when they shine, pick them up and brush them off when they fall and always believe that they can do whatever they really are willing to work for.  They know that I'm not asking them to do anything that I'm not willing to do myself.  Any time that I want to quit that is one of the things that keeps me going.

This week I swam a mile for the first time.  I did it in 45 minutes.  I was totally stoked. The first person I wanted to tell was my husband.  The second person (or in this case, people) was my AVID class.  I love those kids and they have come so far.  I believe in them and they believe in me.  I will not let them down and they know it.  Having them cheer for me was a pretty great way to start off my day!

The very next day I had an awful day at work, for various reasons.  (It happens).  But I couldn't shake it very easily and I had a track workout to do with Jon.  Again, he was supportive and accommodated where I was at right then without letting me completely off scott free. He modified my workout on the spot when it was apparent that I was struggling but I did have to keep going, which is exactly what I needed.

I was worried about how that would work when I had bad days where nothing works easy.  We change the plan a bit and keep moving forward.  Love that!

If you have ever thought about working with a personal trainer I can tell you that I am really loving the experience.  If you live in the valley and are thinking about working with a personal trainer I strongly recommend you contact Jon and see what he has to say.  You won't regret it.  :-)  I'm only a month in and I'm already glad I took the leap.  :-)

Circling back to when I was talking to my husband about whether not to start this new journey.  I am very grateful that I am married to a man who loves me, believes in me and wants the very best for me, no matter what that looks like.  I couldn't be doing all this extra training if he wasn't supporting me and encouraging me.  We are a partnership and I am blessed to have an amazing man who is encouraging me to do new things and has my back while I get it figured out.

Got some other things to share about where I'm at with weight loss and the tired issue but they are going to have to wait for another post.  This one is plenty long already.

One of my Facebook friends that I met through running and encouragement says this:  "Little healthier today than yesterday."  I love that because that's the bottom line, no matter if your journey to a healthier you is slow or fast if you are a little healthier today than yesterday you are moving in the right direction.  :-)

Hope you are a little healthier today than yesterday too.  :-)