Friday, July 26, 2019

That One Time at RunDisney Everest - part 1/2

Take a little trip with me through the wayback machine and relive the glory that was RunDisney Expedition Everest 10k.

Run Disney photo. All Rights Reserved. I'm in yellow front and center.
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This week, I competed in the 2014 Expedition Everest Challenge - my first RunDisney event and possibly not my last.
First off, I must admit, we planned really well for this race. I'm pretty proud of that. Knowing this was my first race in Florida, away from the comforts of home, and neck deep in the humidity, it was a little tough to know what to expect - much less what to expect my body to do.

On race day, we stuck mostly to the hotel, opting not to go to the parks at all. We had spent the 2 days before stomping around Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and the Magic Kingdom. We had hard tickets to the Expedition Everest After Party in Disney’s Animal Kingdom park and I knew I needed to rest my feet. We’d already logged about 10 miles on our feet per day – if not more – for 2 days. The die-hard Disney fan in me was overruled by my inner coach/athlete. We hit up the hot tub at the hotel, napped, and spent most of the day relaxing. This was probably the smartest way to spend the day.
TheNurse and I did venture out to our lunch at one of my favorite places, 
Sanaa.  It is an Indian and African inspired eatery that overlooks a savannah full of free roaming African animals at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. Zebra, giraffe, and greater kudu paced by as we enjoyed our meal. We took our time about it, laughed and joked, and I wasn't feeling the least bit nervous. I steered clear of grains, but enjoyed a delicious glass of wine.


We ate well before the race. After we returned to the room, I snacked on some fruit and nuts we’d bought and stored in the room when I got peckish, giving my (sometimes temperamental per competition) stomach plenty of time to digest.

My stomach didn’t really bother me this time. In fact, for first time in, well, ever, I felt as prepared as I could possibly be for this race. Armed with a solid training background and prepared with all of my usual gear, I knew that I was at the "what will be, will be" stage, for the most part.  All I had to do was try my best. In the gym lately, I'd been clocking fast miles, but I hadn't really run more than about a mile and half at a stretch. It had been pouring rain for 2 days but the race would only be cancelled or delayed on account of lightening. No matter the weather, I planned on showing up.


And show up we did!

Since we were driving our own car (and I’d heard horror stories of being caught in hellish traffic and barely making it to the starting line in time), we opted to show up around 7:30pm. The last thing I needed was to be rushing around, amongst the 5500 people trying to fit into my corral. The first wave didn’t leave for hours, but it was nice to get there before just about anyone else. I got my barings, locating the starting and finishing lines of the 5k portion and the start and finish of the scavenger hunt portion. We came up with a game plan and chit chatted for a few hours.

I'd drawn on my old running shirt and grabbed some photos before I put my sweater back on to shield some of the rain and stay warm. Back reads: "No P.P.Q. Just P.R.s!"
 My one concern about getting there early was that there was nowhere dry to sit. As you can see from the photos, the race begins (and ends) in a parking lot. We were among the first people there. It had been raining for several days, and rained on and off all day, so I was a bit concerned about wasting energy by standing around, but it gave me a chance to very slowly warm up as others arrived - and practice my squat. We were even there before DJ started the pre-race party. Thankfully, he had some dance moves that helped everyone stay warm in the rain. Snow machines launched bubble flakes into the air as well, but they weren't used very much. Bubble snow + Rain = Danger Will Robinson! 
  
People showed up in costumes, which was fun to watch, but the serious runners weren’t dressed as characters. Most people were part of teams. Out of the 5500+ people there, only about 1200 were individual runners. About 690 of them were women running as individuals. That was my division






I didn’t spot anyone I knew going into the corrals. I have to admit, I couldn’t be MORE grateful for The Nurse’s support. She was my living locker, carrying my gym bag with water bottles, snacks, my sweater, and my throw-over pants, my photographer, and my support crew. (In case you’ve never seen me in the gym, I’m a fan of keeping muscles and joints warm, so I usually have a pair of pants I throw over my workout pants. Hence the name, throw-over pants.) She stood with me out in the rain FOR HOURS without complaint until the race started. My friends are pretty darn awesome...
 
I moved into my corral as soon as I saw other people milling about. I knew I’d need to have a clear path in order to give myself the best shot of hitting my goal – to set a new PR (personal record) of under 30:31.

Old PR from Zombie 5k in September, 2013
I tuned out the DJ (at this point he'd repeated his loop more than once) and generally and opted to listen to my Bluetooth headset instead as I eagerly awaited to be released into the chute. I was in the 2nd wave (Corral B) and was in the 2nd row as the first wave (Corral A) filled the chute. The rain started to come down and a light wind was whipping up. Having shed my sweater and pants when I stepped into the Corral, I was shivering a bit, right along with my fellow athletes. It only made me more eager to run, move, and get warm. I did my best to stretch further in the confined space, and warmed up with a bit of hopping (a J workout trademark – or bad habit – depending on who you ask).  Robyn, a friend of mine through Disney and Facebook, found me in my corral and gave me a hug for luck, before rejoining her team a corral behind me. The Hug and Hi gave me something to grin about for a few moments.

As the DJ kept the crowd engaged, the co-hosts announced a trumpet player would be playing the national anthem.  Just before the national anthem, the co-hosts asked for a moment of silence in recognition of the US military at home, abroad, and passed away.  I bowed my head and the hush spread over the mass of humanity (well over 5000 people) within a matter of seconds.  I smiled a little to myself, pleasantly surprised that a group this size was capable of such a feat.

About 10-15 seconds into the moment of silence, the hosts asked military members and their family members to raise their hands.  

I raised my hand – the only person within at least a 300 foot radius identifying myself as a military family member. If there was any question what “Subwife” on my shirt meant, that probably laid it to rest. Suddenly I wasn’t just another bright shirt in the sea of wet, anxious faces…

This got to my heart more than a little more than I expected. If you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, you probably realize by now that I haven’t heard My Sailor’s voice in some time. Days have turned into weeks. Weeks have turned into months... We had discussed this race before he deployed. Knowing it was likely he wouldn’t be able to participate with me, he told me he wanted me to fly across the country and do it. It seems that even when he’s 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, he still finds a way to enable my dreams…

My Sailor and I at the Zombie 5k, September 2013
Voices from the crowd swelled around me with the national anthem. I knew that this was the time to see if my training would pay off. The last time I did a 5k, I ran with My Sailor. He pushed me along, and I reached a new PR of 30:31. This time, I had a faster goal, and I was flying solo.

Corral A left to a flurry of steam and fireworks. Then my corral moved into the chute. Walking anxiously to the start line, I found that I was no longer one row deep into my wave. I was in the front. The RunDisney tape was right in front of me. The pavement opened up in front of me, empty as Corral A runners faded around the corner across the parking lot. A few camera flashes went off, but surely they weren't taking photos of me, right?

Property of Run Disney. All Rights Reserved.
Wrong. Candid photos are a great reminder to me of how far I've come. I was surprised to see this one on RunDisney's Facebook page.  Not bad for my first RunDisney event.
6 minutes after the first wave left, we were unleashed. I started the timer on my ipod at the exact moment I crossed the starting line. I worked hard not to keep up with those that were going too fast out of the gate. I knew they’d regret it soon enough. 

Training in Washington gave me a bit of an advantage here. The constant drizzle and bit of a chill was nothing new to me – I’ve run over hills in my neighborhood in worse. I was as used to that as I was to the voice in my head telling me how I was nuts, that I was going to trip over an obstacle, that I shouldn’t be too disappointed if I don’t PR; after all, lots of things have been happening lately…stressful things… and here I was, out of my element, competing on my own…

Yeah – that voice is usually pretty talkative during the first 1/2 mile. Fairly sure I could outrun it, I sped up just a little bit.

The first mile was through the parking lot... at night... in the rain...

There is nothing especially magical about this part of the run. Disney had lit up an overturned canoe and a gator with it’s mouth open. Speakers piped in growls from the creature to keep things lively, but running through a dark parking lot in the rain is still…running through a dark parking lot in the rain…

The first obstacle was about 2/3rds of the way into the first mile.

It was hay bale hurtles. I could already tell that someone had taken a dive into one of the hay bales. It was destroyed. The ground was muddy and sandy. For a moment, I was afraid I’d twist an ankle attempting it, but I went for it anyway.




Glad I did. They were all doable, though a little too unevenly spaced to get a good solid hurtle pace going. (Didn't know I used to love hurtles in high school, did ya? Never did them competitively though -it was just a fun thing in PE class.)

Getting through them without breaking my face, twisting an ankle, or being slowed down more than a 15 seconds(ish) gave me courage to keep going. So I sped up just a little bit and decided to run to the front gate…

Then I got to the front gate. Next goal? The Tree of Life. It's in the center of the park and up a small hill. Thanks to hill training in my neighborhood in Washington, my legs knew exactly what to do.  I didn’t waste much time enjoying the view of the lit up Tree of Life. I just kept on running.

There were characters along the way to spot and get photos taken with. I wasn't stopping, but it was a fun thing to watch and wave. Disney Cast Members stood along the trail, cheering everyone on enthusiastically. That was a huge help to this solo flyer. Spectators were only allowed at the start and finish point.

The one challenge I ran into was foot pain.  While not intense or intolerable, my feet were feeling the ache of being on them non-stop for the better part of the week.  I did allow myself 10 steps of walking breaks here and there. I kept moving quickly and found that, with the small 10 step break, I was ready to break into a quicker run than if I'd tried to 'tough it out'. With no real blisters after this race, I'm going with it being the right call.

The second obstacle was tire stepping. I actually expected to have problems with this one. Again, it had been raining, so I could easily see catching a foot and taking a face plant, or twisting an ankle if I landed on a slippery surface.

Pushing those back, I decided to pick up my feet and bounce through them. I knew I could always walk through them if it was proving too dangerous.

Lucky for me, training kicked in yet again.

While I was in California going for my 'recovery run' through a local park, I decided to run on the ledge of a retaining wall. The wall was made of uneven stone and about a foot or two wide. Falling off the wall would have meant a 6 foot drop in some places, so there was LOTS of incentive to step quickly, lightly, and keep my balance. Not to mention, it was rattle snake season, so I knew that leaping out of the way of one might have been a hazard to contend with. (But I was having too much fun to care...)

So what were a few tires? I didn’t fall then. I took the first two or three tires tentatively, but I picked up my pace and passed several people, using the balancing skills I honed on that wall 2 weeks before. Instead of going side to side to pick my way through the tires, I opted for the straightest path possible and I was through them in no time. In fact, I passed several people...

Fast feet? Me? Who knew?

The course curved through the park and back stage. I ran into Robyn again where it doubled back on itself. It couldn’t have been better timed. I was entering mile 3 and getting tired. She waved and encouraged me to "Go get that PR!" Seeing a familiar face made me smile and put a spring in my step. I dashed ahead, singing along (as best as one can while running) to the Pandora jam playing in my ears. I got a lot of strange looks, but it got me through. I'm fairly certain mile 3 was the fastest of all of them, until the obstacle -


The final obstacle was a cargo net crawl. I debated running by this one, but opted to try it anyway. I'd finished all the others. Why skip one?!

I dove under.

Perhaps I should have skipped this one....

My hat kept getting caught on the net, halting my progress. I considered leaving it behind completely at one point, but then my pony tail caught on the netting. Had I not wasted valuable seconds fixing it, I would have likely had my hair even more entangled in the thin netting, so I pulled the hat back on and plowed through, shoving it back on my head and getting lower under the net. (You can see the girl behind me struggling to get up - her pony tail was stuck....)


Nearly falling....
Mission Accomplished!
 I probably lost a little less than about a minute here. I leapt out from underneath when I got to the edge of the net. I couldn’t get out of there fast enough. Stumbling and nearly tripping over the sandy, wet ground (and the photographer), I knew the finish line was close. 
I let it all out and sprinted, mashing down on my phone to stop the timer just as I crossed the finish line. I clicked "stop" on the stopwatch - half expecting not to meet my goal.

This was later ‘officially’ confirmed as well by my timing chip. (Exact same time).

I looked at the clock and slowed to a walk, looking around for The Nurse to announce that I accomplished my mission. In 7 months, without specially training to increase my speed, I increased my speed enough to shave off an even 2 minutes.

Then it was off to the Scavenger hunt portion... but that's the next blog...

When all was said and done, I placed 58th out of 686 finishing individual women, and 104th out of 1071 finishing individuals (regardless of gender).

I'm more than happy with those results. Stay tuned for the clue portion later this week.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Habit Building Part 2 - The Power of Play

One of the first things clients ask me is 'What should I do between sessions?" If there the goal is to move better, grow stronger and more confident in your everyday life, my answer is "Do something you enjoy." Hike. Swim. Yoga. Run. Golf. Whatever.

MOVE.

Getting in the habit of moving sounds like a simple thing. It's the goal of a million different devices, from the Fitbit tracker to the simple Pedometer. No matter their accuracy or inaccuracy or bells and whistles, it's about chiefly about getting people to notice the amount of time they spend sedentary, so that they will get in the habit of moving more throughout the day.

The goal is the same. To increase general energy output. It's probably the simpliest way to do it. And it doesn't necessarily mean launching into Death By Treadmill or anything like that.  Rebuilding confidence as an adult has much of the same features as building confidence of a child.






 Play.

Pointless, all-in play. Whatever that looks like for you.

Take my Sunday for example. I had a bit of a slow start to the 1 day I don't work. I spent a good 1/2 the day tackling the laundry, and my kiddo would have been content to binge on cartoons all day, but we needed to get out. So we did. And we invited friends along.

 We ended up playing at the park from about 2:45 until about 5:30pm. I was "It" during many games of tag testing my bobbing, weaving, and sprinting skills.  I started a game of hide and seek, and I pushed swings endlessly for at least 2 kids in the rain.

No, I don't wear a fitness tracker. But I do notice that my current pace of life is upping my NEAT nicely.  The kiddo and I also have taken to playing a 15-20 minute game of tag before dinner every night that I'm not working. It's amazing how a 3 yr old can keep you on your toes.

NEAT is Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenics - you know, the everyday life stuff that causes your body to use energy that isn't necessarily considered exercise. You know, like working, breathing, sleeping, and for some of us that may include parenting. But I'm a believer that your fitness is only as good as what it helps you do in everyday life. And EVERYONE SHOULD PLAY. That play may look different, but a day off, a week off, an hour off a day, should be devoted to play.

It's good for you. Physically, emotionally, and psychologically.

It doesn't have to look like pushing kids on a swing. It can look like whatever is fun. If it's fun, it's an easy habit to build on.
It doesn't have to be elaborate. It doesn't have to include expensive gear. It doesn't even have to be 1 thing. Just make it something.

Make time.

Start small.

Discover your Play.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Strong as a Mother. Athlete Spotlight

Working at the YMCA gives me a chance to work with a wide variety of people. Occasionally, those people let me share their a piece of their lives with the outside world.

Not everyone I train has aspirations of competition or joining the lifting team. Most are working to better themselves - to be strong enough to rise to the challenges that life brings, to change their body shape, to test the waters and see what they are capable of.  For Hannah, it was a bit of all of those things. We first started training together in March of 2017.  She was looking for a way to regain her fitness while juggling all of the challenges that come along with being a professional (who occasionally travels on business) and a new mother.  While that's a common enough, and big enough hurtle for anyone to travel, the biggest motivator to get strong may have come from chronic pain.
First Deadlift PR - 90lbs, May 2017
Weight lifting and chronic pain may not seem to be obvious bed fellows, but research is proving that prudent strength training often slows the progress of various degenerative issues and assists with pain management and slows the progression of various spinal degenerative conditions. With the help of a small village (Physical Therapy, Chiropractic care, Orthopedist), she's come a long way.
150lbs Deadlift - Jan 2019

If you've ever been the mother of a small child, you probably understand what it's like to be sick for the better part of their first few years of life. For some parents, it's all warm and fuzzy cuddles and coos. For many of us, though, there it can feel like an eternity of late nights, runny noses, and a delve into the black hole of unfathomable exhaustion. While many women taught breastfeeding as being the key to getting the 'pre baby body back', 60% of women who do breast feed report weight gain, which can be further frustrating to anyone who isn't basking in the postpartum glow.
Early Motherhood Is Hard. It's a new kind of hard for all first time moms.

 (Video date 1/2019)
But no matter how tough those nights are, Hannah shows up. She shows up when it's easy. She shows up when it's hard. As many people in chronic pain are, she's very much in tune with her body, but we're still discovering what she's capable of.  Reaping the benefits of intelligent consistency, Hannah has continued to stretch her boundaries, and we're still finding the limits of her capabilities and pushing them just a little bit more.
Yes, motherhood is hard - but it also adds a unique edge to an already powerful spirit.

I know whatever challenge I give her, she'll rise to meet it. 

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Joining the Tribe - The Coach that I am

Kira Dorsey, Masters Athlete, Capitol City Championships, 2018


For the past month or so, I've been looking towards the future. Recently, I put in an application to be part of the Super Fit Hero directory of Body Positive Trainers.

Now, I thought a lot about joining this tribe. I kept rolling around in my head what it meant to be a 'body positive' trainer. Was I really one? What did that mean anyway? As much as I work in the realm of physical health and movement, I also realize that I deal with mental health in a lot of ways as well. No, I'm not a mental health professional by any means, but I understand the mental games that come into play with weightlifting. The fear of the new lifter. The anticipation of a seasoned lifter attempting a new weight. The defeat of a bad day in the gym. The elation of a a great day in the gym. (I mean, if you've ever snatched, you get it...)  So naturally I believe that things that stretch our mental comfort zone are just as vital as those new movements.

And I hear a lot of understandable critiques about the Body Positive movement, especially from my fellow trainers. Honestly, I get it. Most of our clients initially come to us to lose weight, right? So why should we be encouraging the fatness?!

After a lot of mulling over it in my brain, I applied and was accepted.

Because I get it.

Because it's a good fit for me. Is there anything wrong with wanting to lose fat? Of course not. But most of that happens in the kitchen, not the gym. In the gym, I already am the Body Positive trainer.





So what does it mean, to me, to be a 'Body Positive' coach?

It means

I am the coach that looks for growth over perfection.
I am the coach that will proudly stand by and stand up for my transgender athlete/client.
I am the coach that will learn about the struggles of my clients and empathize.
I am the coach that will be louder than the voice of fear in your head.
I am the coach that believes that you CAN do it, whatever "it" is, however long it takes. Let's do it.
I am the coach that believes power doesn't have an ideal gender, size, or age.
I am the coach that believes each person has a unique talent to bring to the world.
I am the coach that will NOT encourage my client to get on the scale.


It ALSO means

That I will never advise you to get on the scale every day. 
Weight and fat aren't the same thing. The wooden chair I'm sitting on has a 'weight'. It doesn't mean the chair is 'fat' or 'unhealthy' or in some way 'broken'.  Weight is the effect gravity has on the chair. It'll weigh something else on the moon. And when I'm done with this Earth and slip slide into my grave, my 'weight' won't even be a topic of conversation at my wake (which better be AMAZING... just saying). It won't be carved on my tombstone. The important things will be. Loving wife, daughter, sister, mother, (and badass coach) will be on there.

That life is too short not to enjoy.
Go on vacation. Enjoy a holiday meal with family and friends if you want. Do that marathon. Lift your bell of choice (kettle bell, barbell, dumbbell, handbell). Learn. Grow! Experience! Your fitness should allow you to experience life to the fullness you desire. Whether that is keeping up with your kids, your friends, your partner - it is YOUR LIFE!  Your training should enhance your enjoyment of your life, not make you feel ashamed, worthless, or ruined.

Maybe it's the process of application, has reminded me of all the amazing people I've had the occasion to work with, maybe it's the holidays that has be a little bit nostalgic, but as I look forward, it's amazing to realize how much I've learned from the fledgling beginnings. I'll never forget one of my first clients (a 78 year old veteran with 2 knee replacements that was learning how to use his legs and his abs again), to a few of my favorite athletes who let me guide them on their journeys into their first meets and beyond, to the more recent transformative moments when I realized I was the only female weightlifting coach in a warm up room full of men, and yet I held my ground with any of them. Or when I have gone to break out the brass knuckles (figuratively) for my athletes during competition because I didn't see why my transgender athlete shouldn't be allowed to compete to the fullest extent the rules allowed...

Not one of those incredibly memorable transformative moments had to do with the number on someone's scale or their pant size.

Now, my own journey has taught me that there is more to fitness, strength and power than meets the scale.
Sure, dropping a pant size isn't a bad goal. There are very few 'bad' goals out there. But I know my body personally changes often. When I turn up the heat and really focus on an upcoming meet or event, my body changes quickly. It responds to heavy lifting, but the scale doesn't shift much.
And that's okay.  I want to be as strong as I can be where ever that lands me on the scale. Because for me in my life, being strong means I can take care of my family when my husband deploys. Strength is such a highly personal thing, but being capable of doing the things life calls upon us to do is really a feat. Whether it's handling a high stress job, or carrying a toddler through a store, life calls for all kinds of strength.

And I believe we can build it together.

That's what makes me a body positive trainer.

If you're looking for someone to shame you into changing your ways, that's not my crowd. If you're looking for someone to empower you and push you - to plant seeds and help you cultivate them - THAT is the crowd I run with. And I'm proud to be part of this new community.
You can find me here through Super Fit Hero and meet me at the Y.


Sunday, November 11, 2018

Surviving the "Off Season" or Lessons in Adaptation


If I had to sum up 2018, I would call it the "off season" year.  Personally, we've had things to handle on the home front, from the transition of getting the kiddo into a preschool routine, to the constantly shifting schedule of the Navy, from broken down cars to sickness and back again. It's been a hell of a ride.

And I'm not the only one. Several of my athletes have had their own behind-the-gym battles to fight. And I'll be honest, for those of use who are highly kinetic, these times can be exceedingly challenging. Just one one thing is handled, another thing pops up!

Sound familiar?

It's like the year of the full-moon craziness, am I right?

Okay, maybe this is your year that you've been kicking ass through - but rest assured, there will be an off season year for you too.

The idea isn't that everyone shouldn't have an off season. The foundations of health and strength are not 'perfection'. They are not some unattainable photo in a magazine or lifting total in a competition. One of the KEYS to strength building is flexibility.This isn't the year of the barbell. This isn't the year we bring home medals and trophies and accolades. This is the year where we may pick up a kettle bell or a sand bag or a dumbbell more often. This may be the time we challenge ourselves with body weight or with the TRX. None of that is Useless.  There is NO SUCH THING AS WASTED STRENGTH.

Muscles are made by making tears in tissue, and letting it heal, and repeating the process over and over and over, in new an exciting ways.  That is how the body adapts to stress. It breaks down, and then builds up.
So let me say that again.

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS WASTED STRENGTH.This may not be the calendar year for a new Personal Record at a meet, but this may be the year for that new personal record on a plank. Or a box jump. Or even the mental game (which, let's face is, is 80% of the game of life PERIOD). 

So, yes, as a team, this has been the year of the Off Season for the lifters, but no moment has been wasted time. No movement has been wasted energy.  Mental games are being honed. The biggest test, resiliency, is just around the corner. And beyond any barbell - that is a life skill, a strength, worth building.

Friday, September 14, 2018

The Toxic Nature of the "No Excuses" Movement or The Value of Recovery

I get it. Many of us have been making excuses for our health for decades. "I'll start on a Monday... oops... I didn't prepare. I'll start next Monday." or "I can't afford a trainer/gym/workout program." or "My accountability went out the window." or "I have a holiday/event/vacation coming up." 

I get it. There are LOTS of 'excuses' for not taking your health seriously.

So many, that I often see folks doing something like #NoExcuses on sweaty selfies post workout.

Recently, I noticed someone shared that she felt like she was swallowing razor blades, but got her workout on anyway. Okay, we all workout through some sick days. The next day, she talked about getting chills and a fever, but she got her workout on anyway. Finally she was dx'd with strep, and she got a workout in anyway. Now, these are home workouts, so she's not going around a gym willy nilly infecting other people. But...

I had an enlightening conversation with a client who happened to be pregnant. We were talking about the "no excuses" movement and she passed along some wisdom from her doula. After the baby is born, she is to remain horizontal whenever possible. And she has a great point. After birth, no matter how the baby is born, women have a giant wound that can be healed with only 1 thing. Time.  In fact, in looking back, if I could have done 1 thing differently, it would have been to be more patient with myself and my healing process. 2 weeks after giving birth, I was coaching a strongman meet. Less than a month after having a kid, I was back in the gym. If I had really respected the wound that was healing, I might have given myself more grace and not attempted to live up to my namesake (The Bionic Woman).

In fact, I joined a few No Excuse Mom and Fit4Mom groups looking for answers to post partum fitness. And you know what I found out as I left those groups?

I was shamefully full of 'excuses.' I couldn't make workouts that didn't include kids because I had no child care. I couldn't make workouts that demanded I strap her into a stroller because I have a kid who thinks strollers are lined with barbed wire and will scream until she turns blue and passes out. If she doesn't start breathing within 1 minute, we start CPR. That's not something I wanted to deal with while trying to workout.

So there I was, neck deep in shame, and a bit lost. Without being able to workout, did that make me a failure?

 I ended up doing what I could, when I could, and I still believe that was the right call.

Here's the point of the matter -

I believe we have no greater tool at our disposal than honesty. 

Being honest with ourselves shows the clear line between the reasons and the bullshit (excuse my french) excuses.

Should we have excuses?
 In fact, I argue we ALL have something going on that is an obstacle to our goals.  We all have things crop up that mean the healthiest choice we can make is to modify or even miss a workout.
As a coach and trainer, I want my clients to meet their goals and look out for their health with honesty and clarity and above all, safety.
  Sure, sometimes that means we power through the sniffles, or modify like a mofo for injuries or other medical conditions.
  Example, I tweaked an ankle playing with my dog. So I modified my program from Olympic lifting to Deadlifts this week.
  But then I caught a cold. So I modified my intense deadlifts to a brisk hike with the dog.

  The cold moved into Bronchitis and an ear infection. RED ALERT! Time for a day of rest.

See, I like the basic idea behind the "No Excuses" but the truth is, there is NO SHAME in having a legitimate reason.  Maybe it should just be renamed "No Bullshit."

So pick 1 thing this week.
Get deeply honest about it.
Change is on the other side of shame.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Pre Trainer Girl days - My Speech on Motivation

(I wrote this blog just before kicking off my career as a Personal Trainer and Weightlifting Coach. - And it's still my favorite, well worthy of a repost.)

I'm not great at motivating people to come to the gym. Most of my work outs are with hired help (Trainer Guy) or flying solo. Sometimes My Sailor is along for the ride, but more often than not he isn't. (With his crazy schedule, I can't blame the guy.)

I just generally keep flying the 'bat signal' (as Trainer Guy calls it) and inviting people until they either stop talking to me (because they see the change and aren't ready to make it themselves, or they know I'll invite them on a hike/walk that they really don't want to do anyway and disappearing is easier than actually saying 'no'). Either ya come along for the ride, or ya don't. I'm just me on my own ride, happy for company, but content to fly solo if that's the case.

Not very good traits for someone considering getting into personal training, right?

But, before you write me off, here's my #1 go-to motivational statement.  Let me know what you think. Comment away!

"How badly do you want to pee?"To me, it seems like life is a lot like those"Choose Your Own Adventure" books I used to stay up reading by flashlight in my bedroom well past my bedtime. (For which I was often BUSTED.) Just like the books, there are always unforeseeable factors involved, but, for many things, I get some form of choice.
Let me lay this little "Choose Your Own Adventure" on you -

(For complete effect, run tap water or a waterfall sound effect as you read this.)

You're sitting in a meeting room during a very important meeting. The speaker is showing no signs of letting up soon. In fact, he/she is only 1/2 way through the material. You're sitting and sitting... and that glass of water or cup of coffee/tea is testing the limits of your bladder. You just kind of had to 'go' when you came in, but it's been at least 45 minutes since then and you're bladder is aching, about to explode. You've shifted your weight as much as possible or bounced your leg as much as possible. You're about 30 seconds away from wetting your pants right there in public with your co-workers surrounding you.

What do you do? You have the following options:

A) Pee your pants in public and deal with the fall out.

B) Excuse yourself as quietly as possible.

C) Wait for your bladder to rupture, and deal with the fall out of not only wetting your pants in public, but the embarrassment of 911 being called for you.
(Now, get up and turn off that water or waterfall soundtrack and go to the restroom. It's okay. I'll wait.)

I think it's safe to say that most (toilet trained) reasonable adults would opt for B, given the options in the scenario above.

Pause for a moment and think about why though.

Why wouldn't we want to wet ourselves in public?  We'd relieve the pressure instantly and be done with the pain of an aching bladder. However, it is usually a sign that we aren't capable of taking care of ourselves. A whole new world of experiences open up when a child becomes potty trained. Also, we'd be stuck in these wet, stinky, uncomfortable clothes all day, or the act of changing would significantly disrupt our day. It could also damage our reputation. In the world of social media, little is truly 'private'.  So an adult having an accident is rare. It could also mean that the adult is sick and unable to control his/her bladder - and unable to take precautions for such a scenario. Basically, nothing 'good' comes out of that scenario (unless you want to take revenge on your office chair...). Socially, it's bad news. Professionally, it's bad news. Health-wise, it's even worse news (especially if your bladder ruptures and you have to be rushed away in an ambulance for something completely preventable.)

So...ready to have your mind blown?
Okay, not really. But I firmly believe that people only change under 2 conditions.

Condition #1
They HAVE to in order to survive.

Condition #2
They WANT to more than ANYTHING.


 I'm not talking about the person you know that 'wants to' quit smoking or 'wants to' lose weight or 'wants to' eat better. I'm talking about the person who wants to like they want to go to the restroom. I'm talking about the person who is doing the adult-version of the pee-pee dance because they want the change so much.

Now, that said, no one potty trained themselves.

EVERYONE
has a team of 'professionals' helping them along. For potty training, it's usually the parents or guardians. For health related issues for adults, it could be a team of doctors, therapists, trainers, work out buddies, or accountability buddies. There are as many ways to learn and incorporate new healthy habits as there are ways to learn to go to the bathroom. Some parents use stickers or rewards to teach their kids. Others wait it out. Others nag their kids into it. There literally millions of different, creative routes to take, but the goal is the same.

So, don't want to lift weights and cross train like me?
Cool!
Want to walk your way to wellness?
Awesome!
Want to work out 6 days a week for that oh-so-delicious-'cheat'-day?
Make those work outs count!
Want to swim your way into next summer's swimwear?
Go for it!
Want someone to call you and check on your eating habits?
There are lots of GREAT journal apps and even groups you can go to.

Afraid someone (like me) will 'judge' you in the gym? You're probably right. I'm Human. I will Judge you. But it's not what you think...

Here's me honestly passing judgement.

The more obviously physically challenged you may be, the more inspirational you are to me. I know how badly your feet/ankles must hurt, but you're doing it away. I know how much you worry about others 'staring at you', but you're doing it anyway. I know how you don't think you'll ever get to that magical shape you're dreaming of. I'm intimately acquainted with the shame those that struggle with weight are. BUT you're not letting it get in your way any more.

You're taking care of yourself - doing something no one else can do for you.
You're excusing yourself from your usual routine (exampled by the business meeting) to handle your business (or bladder).

And if you're totally physically fit and powering through a work out, I'm probably looking at you wishing I were that good at pull ups, push ups, running, etc, but knowing that, if I keep working at it, I'll get there.

But I know, deep down, that until you want the end results as badly as you don't want to wet yourself in public, you don't really want it.

So.... How badly do you have to pee?