Friday, October 13, 2017

Self Challenge

Facebook has a cool thing that allows you to see what you posted in the past on that day.  I always go check because it's fun to see what was going on.

The last few months have had a lot of pictures of my sweet puppy, Bailey.  This is bittersweet since she has been gone since last April and I still miss her.  But I also like seeing the pictures because they are great memories of my girl.

I also love the pictures I have posted of my kids.  First day of school, choir concerts, random adventures.  The two oldest are all grown up and not living at home anymore.  The youngest is in her junior year of high school and is growing up fast.  Middle school pictures are the best because they change so much after that stage!

It also has been fun to see where I have been in my journey to a healthier me and really how far I have come.

Today is a great example of this.  Four years ago today I did my very first triathlon.  It was a sprint triathlon called the Last Chance Tri.  You can read all about how it went from the point of view of that day here: Last Chance Triathlon 2013

It was a very good day and I was very proud of myself for accomplishing a triathlon.

Then I didn't do another one for almost three years.

I got busy.

I was running.

I had other goals.

Sounds reasonable, right?

All of those things are true.  But there were some other things in there.

I was too large to "really" be a triathlete.

I was too slow to be a triathlete.

I was still scared of riding a bike.

I wasn't good at swimming.

So I kept avoiding talking about doing a triathlon and doing my best to be very busy with other things.

Eventually my husband caught on to my avoidance and started pinning me down on what was really going on in my head.  Totally fine if doing triathlons wasn't my thing.  Totally not okay if I was letting fear keep me from doing something.

Worked on getting back on the bike.  Practiced stopping and starting and not falling down.  Always a good thing.

Worked on improving my swimming.  Started swim lessons with my daughter and started feeling like I could actually swim longer distances and not be struggling the entire time.

Then I worked on the mental side.  Seeing myself as an athlete has been difficult.  I have always equated my size and my speed with my athletic ability.  If I am fat and slow then I can't really be considered an athlete.  More of just a athlete wanna be.

This will be something that I think will always be something I am working on.  But I am much better than I used to be.

Today showed me how far I have come since that first triathlon.  Both in my ability as an athlete and in how I view myself as an athlete.

In the last two years I have done 10 triathlons!!  Six have been Sprint triathlons and four have been Olympic triathlons.

6 miles of swimming
168 miles on the bike
43 miles of running

And that's just from the racing!  That doesn't include the many hours in the pool, on the bike (outside and on the trainer) and running that I did to get ready for these races.

I have not only accomplished things that make feel like an athlete, I have also taken some big steps with how I view myself as an athlete. I still have my times that I am totally frustrated with my weight, my speed, and my being tired all the time.  But I'm doing a better job of celebrating what I can do and how hard I work to make these things happen.

I started a new job at a new school this fall.  I'm always a bit insecure when starting out with something new.  New people, new procedures, new expectations.  That's a lot of new.  It was a bit overwhelming.
I gave myself a challenge.

The idea for the challenge came from last summer when Jon challenged me to take the word heavy out of the subtitle of my blog.  That was really hard for me.  It was also really good for me.  It has really made me conscious of my self-talk and how I speak about myself, both internally and out loud.

The beginning of the school year, before students are in the building, is about school norms, expectations and letting new staff have opportunities to get to know people.  This was no exception, the only difference was I was the new staff.  Totally unknown to my new co-workers.  I did not have anyone that I already knew in the building.  They knew nothing about me other than their impressions of me from my interview and sample lesson.

They didn't know me 70 pounds ago.

They didn't know me before I started running.

Or before I started doing triathlons.

Whatever I presented was how they would see me.  How I spoke about myself would give them a foundation of how they would see me.

So the challenge I gave myself was that I was not going to bring up the fact that I have lost weight.  That one wasn't terrible hard, a little difficult here and there but doable.  But I also wasn't going to say that I am still heavy or that I feel fat now.  No conversations about my weight at all!

The hard one was that when I shared that I run or do triathlons I was not going belittle what I do by saying that am slower than everyone else, or heavier than everyone else.

If it came up I said, "I do triathlons and it is so much fun!!" Nothing else other than talking about events or what I do to get ready. No qualifying or downplaying what I do.

Sounds easy.

It was much harder than I expected it to be.

My new co-workers don't know my journey.

They are meeting the triathlete.

Not the woman of seven years ago that started out struggling to make it around the track.

My race bibs are up above my white board.  I got to talk about events I've been in, share some of my adventures, and share how much fun I have had along the way.
Planning on getting race bibs all across the front of the room!
I had to stop myself often from adding to the stories the other aspects.  But I managed it.

Six weeks into my school year I have done the same thing with my students.

I have come a long way since that first triathlon.

This is who I am now.

I am a triathlete.

I'm learning to acknowledge the fact that I have been since the first triathlon.  I need to give myself more credit for how far I have come and appreciate the work to get me to where I am today.   Love the woman I was because she was strong enough to get me moving me down this road.  Embrace the woman I am today and all that I am able to do now.
Me and Miss Meighan at my first triathlon
Me and my coach Jon at my most recent triathlon.