Monday, January 1, 2024

2024- Word of the year

 

2024 WORD OF THE YEAR

Gosh I sometimes have an easier time coming up with a WORD.  Last year’s word was so deeply etched into my heart: RISE.

This year, in brainstorming my word, these are some of the moods/essences that I felt:

Positive, assume the best, spread love, shine, glimmer, half full, gratitude, show up, perspective, trust, positive, no overthinking, leap-open-upwards direction, align, grow, bright, expand, upwards.

I have this INNER feeling of what I am going after, but I had a really hard time coming up with the WORD that encapsulates it all.

I am choosing UP.(I also kind of like that it maybe is a continuation of last year’s RISE… “RISE UP”)

UP:

LOOK UP: I want to every day, look up and NOTICE.  Notice beauty, notice the little things, notice CONNECTIONS, BE the connection and the upwards way of being.

THINK UP: I want to think UP AT THE GOOD—even when there is a negative—I want to notice the “up”- the good/ the opportunity that lies within/ the big picture that may not even be visible at that exact moment. I want to trust that I am going upwards in the direction of my dreams, on the path that is meant for me, as long as I remain true to myself, my integrity and core values that I live my life by. I want to intentionally see the glimmers of hope, even when – as is sometimes my tendency, I may initially feel the heaviness of frustration and/ or irritation.  I want to work hard to see the UP glimmer within hard situations.
SPEAK UP: Well, I should clarify slightly.  That I don’t want to speak up TOO MUCH haha. I know and am anticipating and already planning the year that is to come.  It is going to be fraught with divide.  So, I am planning to be intentional about communication. However, I want to balance being intentional and maybe cautious with the thought that it is our right and responsibility to be a part of the world we inhabit.  I cannot expect other people to do the whole job of speaking up for integrity and for things that matter to me.  So, how can I speak up in ways that are respectful and simply supportive of my values.  And how do I need to speak up for myself. How close will I allow someone to be nasty or disrespectful before I speak up for myself? I will also be working on speaking in an upward direction TO myself. I will work on speaking as positively to myself as I would to others.

LIVE UP: As always, I am already preparing.  I am preparing to do lots of things that scare me, exhilarate me, that make my days FULL. I want to go UP the extra mile. For myself, for others, for FUN. I don’t really have a problem saying no to things that I know aren’t in my lane or that will not fulfill me, but I want to actively seek out things that are just out of my vision that will enliven my days.

RISE UP: There WILL be challenges, downward spirals and unexpected shitstorms. I expect myself to sit in that place that I find myself with equanimity and know that there will be a rising upwards, that I am with myself, I know who I am, and I have shown myself evidence that through some of the hard work I’ve done, I can persevere and will be okay.

Sunday, August 27, 2023

Annapolis 10 Miler 2023

 

A10 2023

Gosh I need to look up how many Annapolis races I’ve done.  It’s been at least since 2005 because I know I did it when Phoebe was 3 months old!  It’s been a small lifetime:)

Annapolis is a tough race- notoriously HOT AND HUMID.  Yes, I historically have bookended my summers with notorious hot and humid conditions:  Eagleman in June to begin and then A10 at the end of August. 

Last year- 2022- may have been the MOST humid (or maybe I was the least prepared?) but it was bad.  Today was only slightly better.  Or maybe I ended up handling it better.. Either way, here we go:

I knew I was trained to do the 10.  I know that I am not, nor never will be, as trained as I Used to be.  I got my 10 mile PR here somehow – under 70 minutes.  I’ll have to look up the year and exact time. I am still FLOORED that ME- a girl who couldn’t run- was able to go under 7 minute pace in this race with the hills. Anyway, back to today.  My goal was to run “strong”.  To push, but not necessarily “race”- meaning to go strong, but not over the line of what would be okay for my hips/back/calf whatever ailments my body decided to feel today.  Whatever the pace of that was, I would be okay with- it was the FEELING of pushing, running strong, and ENJOYING being in the race.  6 months ago, I often couldn’t run more than ¼ mile because of hips, etc.  So, I am always reminding myself to be thankful for every mile.

I felt a little bit nervous at the start line, but just reminded myself- don’t be nervous- the goals are to do what you can do and enjoy.  I still felt unsettled and a bit nervous. The first mile:  I am always like IN LOVE with this race because the first ¼ mile goes downhill- it is just such a nice way to begin moving. (yes we go UP that at the end- not as nice) but I’d prefer this anyway.  The first mile is flat. It’s of course a bit bunched up- a few thousand runners do this race, so the whole mile stays pretty tight.  At the 1 mile mark, I was already worried about my dang calf.  This week it has been playing games with me and I could feel it and was trying to be careful with form, not step on any edges, etc.  I also thought, hmmm my legs kinda don’t feel too sharp.  Mile 2, OK already I’m oozing sweat.  Now my calf is definitely speaking and I’m worried that it will cause me to have to stop somewhere on the course and I won’t be able to get back.  I tell myself to continue and the goal now is to stay relaxed because my head wasn’t feeling happy.  This wasn’t as enjoyable as I wanted😊 Mentally I said- get to 5 with goal of “easy/under the radar effort” staying UNDER the level where my intensity would start to make my heat blow up.  By the end of mile 2 I was already like SHIT THE HUMIDITY. Mile 3 was through the town of Annapolis- down the brick street (horrible footing) but with the AMAZING VIEW of the water- I was like THIS HERE!!! Is why I do this race!  I was so happy and when we turned by the water, there was maybe a little breeze or some effect that made me feel less like heat death.  Some super cute houses that we run by right there by the village… I always think (and never do) that I should go back and just spend a day in Annapolis. It’s so cute.  So yea, the hills though. We got into the back neighborhoods where the bones of this hilly course is.  There is one part of the neighborhood with these amazing houses and the gardens!  I tried to enjoy as much as possible. I had skipped a water stop at mile 3 thinking, ahhh, I’m carrying my own, I don’t need it yet and then less than ½ mile later thought I will not make that mistake again- even if I just roll it down my shoulders or back of head to cool off a bit, it will help.  During this 3-5 mile I was really worried, but self talking myself to just make it through step by step, staying smooth, not overdoing effort.  When we began this out and back section where I knew runners were starting to come back this was between 6-7.5 ish of the out and back…. I was like, okay “this is a segment” just be in it.  I was starting to feel calmer with my ability to not think forward and worry, but just be where I was and be at the appropriate pace.  I was like, it’s taken me over 5 miles to “practice” being in a race again- maybe I need to do more races!?!  I was also taking in calories with UCAN pineapple gel (which is new to me this year), as well as water from my flask I was carrying.  Every water station I would drip some water into my mouth and then over my body.  The hills were hard and I knew I was slowing, but I reminded myself that slowing doesn’t mean giving up, so to not make a story out of it.  On the way BACK from that section, it is a big uphill, and again I tried to keep my shoulders with full ease/ no tension and just run calm. During some of these hard sections I also told myself, OH MY GOSH SHARON- this is the first A10 that you didn’t have to use the port o pot by the 7 mile mark!  (typically I’ve had trouble amplified by the humidity at A10).  I also didn’t have any GI issues in my triathlon last week (luray) so yesterday and this week for the most part I kind of copied what I did last week hoping that the universe would bring me a smooth stomach this morning.  I had no idea if it would hold for 10 miles but was hopeful. 

At A10 after the out and back, you turn on a neighborhood road and it goes down a hill until you get out to this highway to bring you back to Annapolis! So this is the ending part from 7.5-10!  I was now kinda feeling actually better than I did at 2-3 miles in?!  (I had also poured so much water that it had sloshed in my sports bra until I like pushed the water out of it and I could also hear my shoes squeaking, very irritating but I told myself to not hear that).  So, this road back, is still hilly, but also I just felt better.  Still suffering, but in a way I thought oh I think I can do this!  And the steel drum band that is always at mile 8 was there, GOSH I WISH I WAS IN THE CARRIBEAN!!!

We have to go back over this bridge that people talk about as the worst hills- yes it is hard and yes I suffered but actually I’m not sure it’s worse than any of the others? Maybe because it was over water I felt it was easier because there was maybe some air circulation there?  And then: we had a mile left.  Yes my legs were now “tired” but not like “done” or dead.  So that was a good thing.  I finished my entire gel during this race (yes I realize some people go through 3 in a race like this, but this is a huge landmark for me to be able to finish one, so I was proud).  I stayed strong to the end, made it up the hill to the finish … the last ½ mile my stomach was actually speaking to me….. I wasn’t sure what but I thought well, I can at least make it…. And I did.  I crossed the line 1:17:30! So that was very happy for me because I held on to this race through some mental challenges and physical as well.  I ended up 3rd in my age group which is a huge surprise to me because I felt like I was so far back I was just going for finishing, but… ahhhh…. Nearing the ½ century mark will get you there😊  I’m proud of my self for staying “with myself” during this race, self talking it through.  It wasn’t perfect, I had negative stories that I had to overcome, but I did.

So, I finished the race, left and could not believe I Hadn’t had to die in a port o pot, I thought WHAT HAVE I CHANGED?  And I really couldn’t think of anything.  Then I realized- I have been making myself drink water bottles of NUUN electrolytes because I sweat so much in the summer.  And several people have mentioned to me that their electrolytes have been off causing them GI distress and, so I am WONDERING???? If this is a possibility!?

HOWEVER… I got home and.. I don’t want to end this on a bad note.  But… ummm… the GI distress did come.  Sweet Jesus, I am so glad that didn’t happen during the race because I may have been on a bus ride back, I wouldn’t have been able to run.  So, it was just like 1.5 hours post race that I had issues… interesting.

I thought from like mile 1-3 in this race, maybe I shouldn’t do Annapolis every year any more.

And now I am full throttle IN.  Every year- I should try to do Annapolis because

1.       It makes me fitter over the summer if I am training for a KNOWN hot and humid race.  It is what it is.

2.       So many people out there- I felt like this was the “essence” of running---- like all abilities, so spread out, sucha  great supported race.  It’s like a family reunion, a check in, a celebration of doing hard things. (and for the sake of your car- please pack a dry change of clothes so you don’t kill your seats).

3.       Typically I used to high- tail it with my family to Rehoboth after this race.  Due to stupid school calendar changes, now the kids are in school so there is no vacation after this.  Last year I took myself to the beach for a day and a night though after A10- it’s so close.  This year I hadn’t planned on it and… shame on me.  I think finishing this race deserves a post race jump in the waves of the ocean…. There is always next year😊

Monday, July 31, 2023

 

RISING SUN- IT’S ALWAYS A NEW DAY!

 When I was trying to decide my “company name” way back in 2006, I had a few things I was going back and forth between.  But I felt very strongly on “Rising Sun Fitness” for so many reasons.

It is the small reasons to say I chose that because I love the sun, because I teach bootcamps which are during the “rising sun.”

What I felt an enormous pull towards was the fact that :  I believe ridiculously strongly in:  EVERY SINGLE DAY WE HAVE CHOICES- A NEW DAY FULL OF THE GIFT OF CHOICES- how do we choose to live?!  With each rising sun, we are given new hope, a new glimmer of promise towards chosen the direction we want to take.

I’m a big believer in “seasons”.  Many of you know: yes I am a huge NEW YEARS Resolution fan.  But just as much as that, I am a fan of SEASONS- every season- what is your goal for it?  Where are your intentions?  And sometimes that may mean it is a season of rest, recovery and rejuvenation!  But it is INTENTIONAL and purposeful!

We are nearing a NEW SEASON- We have August, but then we are entering SEPTEMBER- a new season in so many ways.

What are we RUNNING TOWARDS WITH OUR ARMS AND HEARTS WIDE OPEN AND A BEAMING SMILE ON OUR FACE??!! Because isn’t THAT—the LIFE and LEGACY you want for yourself? 
That you never took this life and world for granted?  That each day you had open arms and open heart for LIFE!

Each of us have different things that we are running towards and SEEKING AND welcoming and REALIZING!  It reminds me of something I remember doing when my kids were small, when I was working, trying to also start my own business, trying to also be my own person, etc.  As a person who experiences anxiety and depression, I would sometimes feel so weary and overwhelmed with all these different things PULLING ON MY SHOULDERS and making me heavy and weary.  Until I made myself every single day, on the way back when I would usually come back or transition / have a few minutes between morning sessions, when I would take 90 seconds to say, “What do I GET to do today?!” And it has made such a difference in my life!  To realize- I don’t “HAVE TO” walk the dogs!  I GET TO!  That is such a luxurious GIFT!  I GET to train all these people that I really truly LOVE-= yes at the end of the day I am TIRED, but I am also so FILLED by knowing that I am living the life I was PUT HERE FOR!

So, I read something recently that reminded me of “what are you running TOWARDS?”

Of course at first I thought, geez, I cannot have big goals in fitness because my back and hips. Geez, this and that.  And then I softened and thought:

*I’m running towards DAYS- what I can do every single day!  Not what I could do 10 years ago, but TODAY!  I’m running towards filling up with GRATITUDE for what I CAN do- even participating brings me joy!

*I’m running towards the things that SCARE me!  Even silly things that I feel a little unsure of, a slight tremor deep within, when I am feeling unsure of myself then I realize this is something I MUST DO. 

*I’m running towards daily recognition of light and connection; towards being pulled to the people, places and things that are SHINING sometimes right in front of me that are sometimes so easy to walk right by!  Even little moments- passing people on their daily walks and saying hello- what LIGHT that is, isn’t it?!  Seeing people enjoying my garden is a moment of light!  And seeing the beautiful sunrise, connecting with nature- what LIGHT and miracles abound right in front of us! Noticing the little blessings, the moments of good brings light to my heart!

*I’m running towards balance.  This has always been so hard for me, but I’m getting better at it and working on self- talking myself through when I don’t feel like I “deserve” to rest.  I sometimes feel silly that I can hang out at the pool for a bit each day- like, what a lazy person I must be to be able to read a book during the workday! But I self- talk myself to recognize that this is the balance that allows me to bring energy to other places in my life.

*I’m running towards intentional choices and action.  I’m enjoying reminding myself of the things that I value and believe in, and running right towards those on a daily basis, without apology.  I value and believe in going out of my way for others, trying to be light for others, challenging my mind, body and spirit.

*I’m running towards EACH RISING SUN !  I'm running towards exhilaration and LIFE!

As the seasons are going to be changing in a month, it’s grounding to ask these questions of ourselves so that we can determine where we are headed, so that we follow that direction, and have the integrity to act upon the things we value highly in our life.

Thursday, July 27, 2023

REV 3 OLYMPIC DISTANCE 2023

 



(posting this quite late):

I want to write more.  I love using this space (for mostly myself!) to solidify my thoughts in writing.

I have a race in 5 days- Rev3 Olympic Distance triathlon in Williamsburg.  I’m really excited!

And not because I’m so highly trained/ fiercely focused as I used to be.

Nope, I am SO TRULY grateful for being able to participate.  To freaking SHOW UP with legs that are working.  I had such a hard time getting my leg to function since last October and was struggling for months to MOVE.  I would have to turn around 2 driveways away.  I questioned if I was just weak or making some mental issue about my leg.  I did not (and do not) understand what was going on.  I am SO GRATEFUL for being able to go out and jog.  And even “run”.  I know people make up all these rants about using the word JOGGING.  GOSH I was SO thankful to jog again. Who CARES what I call it!  (because it wasn’t running for a little bit!)  but it was OUTDOORS, in the air, in my space.  I am so lucky.

So, I’m really looking forward to this race and it is kinda FUNNY to me.  I’m looking so fully forward to being OUT THERE.  In the water.  On the roads.  On my feet!

And, in the past, I always have.  But….  I was so TENSELY CLENCHING ONTO BIG GOALS previously.  So, it feels really FREEING to be prepared enough to work hard.  Within my abilities.  And literally EMBRACE and ENJOY the reality of NOW.

I feel like myself in a somehow “integrated” way.  Somehow being able to blend and balance my hardcore fierce being with a softer version, willing to be okay with “what is.”

Like I am learning that to be overly attentive to numbers/seconds/data driven points takes me out of the place (which is the present) where learning and growth and joy happen.

 

So, now I update this the night before the race.

It’s been a day.  I left this morning so unsettled and had honestly a rotten drive to the race.  A big mental funk.  A life funk.  And I didn’t even feel like myself in the car, just ruminating over my purpose in life, quite frankly.  And I honestly just felt bone dry and sad.  And embarrassed and unworthy, just not in my centered place.  I came out of it a little bit, but it rocked me and I’m hoping I wake up tomorrow going back to my place filled with gratitude.  Being UNBOTHERABLE😊  Not letting any single thing get me down.  Not letting anything have that power over living the best day I can. 

I read one of Maria Shriver’s weekly newsletters a few weeks ago, and she talked about how when she was growing up, her dad used to say, I’m the luckiest guy in the world!  And I really liked that.  We should all feel that way.  And it reminded me to daily try to remember that- we truly are living great lives, even amidst hard things. So, tomorrow, in the James River, may I feel like the luckiest person to be free in the water.  On the 2000 feet of climbing, may I feel like the luckiest and strongest person I can be to travel these roads under my own power.  And what is SURE TO BE BLAZING HOT HUMIDITY, may I feel like the luckiest girl to be able to move my body across the land under my own power, strength, grit and resilience.

 

POST RACE:  I finished, I am so very glad I did this race!  Morning of race, I was nervous – just feeling unsettled and ….well nervous.  Mostly about the swim- I didn’t like not seeing the swim- it was weird location- in the middle of these marshy areas and I just kept thinking- there is no way there could be alligators there, right??  The water quality looked really worrisome… I was maybe looking for reasons to be nervous?  I haven’t done a tri since last August, and I think with being off of running for so long, it just got me off my regular feeling of being confident that I can do these things.  All of this made me even more convinced of how much I need to keep doing these things that make me nervous, push me, take me out of my comfort zone.

Swim started- it was a rolling start vs. age group start.  That still is a little bit new to me, I’ve only had 1 other tri with rolling start.  This was a jump from a dock and I always worry if someone is going to jump on me before I can get out of the way.  It was fine.  (you’d think one day I would learn that worrying isn’t making anything better).  My swim felt really long and strong.  Not necessarily fast, but I had no issues with breathing, I just got settled in really quickly.  There was definitely some confusion on the course/ the placement of buoys.  We were supposed to keep all buoys on left so I Was sighting this furthest buoy but then I saw once almost there that people weren’t actually going around that one- it led to like a marshy islandy area… good grief, so I went out of my way with sighting that buoy.  I wasn’t thrilled or appreciative.  After that it seemed good and I felt strong to the finish.  It wasn’t a great “time” but honestly, I cared more that I FELT FINE.

Transition 1 was fast and straightforward.  Getting ONTO bike- a woman fell off her bike in front of me and a car that was slowly coming through the road nearly ran into her/ she almost slid under the car.  It was really terrifying.  I saw Rachel, a friend who I also coach, as she was starting the bike leg of her first 70.3- it was GREAT to see her and I just felt so happy to be out there on the roads with her!

BIKE: I got on and went.  Overall the bike felt GOOD, but I never felt like I was really giving it a BIG PUSH.  I was like going at a level that was like 7.5/10- like I wasn’t willing? Or just very heistant? To push more and burn myself out.  I feel like that was just a little bit of lack of training- like I don’t really know HOW MUCH I CAN DO,/ how much I can push …  I haven’t trained too hard because there is that line I don’t want to cross with injury and pushing to a point where I’m going to be out of running again for awhile… So I just don’t even think I have that range in me that I used to have. And I don’t want to push past lines that I used to push past that maybe led to injury.  The bike course was 30 miles instead of a standard 25 miles for Olympic distance.  I haven’t gotten in many LONG rides, 40 was my longest, so 30 was fine, but also noticeable to me that it was longer than the typical 25.  There was talk about how much climbing was in this race.  I had driven a portion of the course the day before and it didn’t look too bad, so I was wondering where the huge hills were- yes they were near the turn around, but it honestly wasn’t overall as I think they said it was?  I think I went “strong” on the bike- I don’t regret it, but I do “wonder” what it would have been like to push a little bit more…. Or…. Like I Used to😊

T2- Got off bike- run shoes on, fuel belt, and GO.  Felt Ok.  Of course it wasn’t like “fresh legs” but also not dead stumps like had I been pushing harder.  I had to stop at like ¼ mile because I’ve been dealing with some foot pain and I didn’t think that my shoe was cinched tight enough, I didn’t really want to take the time to bend over, but I did. (and let’s face it… it’s not like I am SO FAST that a few seconds cinching shoelaces really takes me to a new level, haha!) First mile was over a bridge- I had practiced it yesterday so I knew it actually wasn’t as bad as it maybe looked, but I wasn’t sure what it would feel like at the end of a swim/bike.  It was okay and I was running “solid.”  It was open sun at that point, definitely getting very toasty.  2nd mile at about the halfway point led into shade and I was so thankful (yes only time of life I appreciate shade!) but I was hoping to “manage” ok.)  It wasn’t a hugely populated race, and it was odd- I couldn’t tell if I loved that it was kind of lonely out there or liked it. I think it was a mix of both- I kind of enjoyed being in JUST MY PLACE and PACE, but also was really happy to see someone either me passing, I don’t think there were many people passing me, but some people on the way back and it was nice to see!  Water stations were helpful- I took ice and put down my swimsuit, ice water over head. (I had my own water to carry to drink).  I was happy to get to the turn around- still shaded but it was still pretty toasty.  As I made it back to mile 4 I realize ok you only have ½ mile of shade left and then it’s going to FEEL really worse.  I took more ice in my swimsuit and it was so helpful.  Once I got on the bridge to go back towards finish line- under a mile left- although it was really exposed and sunny, there was actually a nice breeze over the bridge that I could feel.  I was trying to push as much as I could to the finish- with ½ mile left.  Gosh, I wish I had more speed in these legs, but I did what I could, and it felt nice to be finishing my first triathlon after the year I had.  Once again, it was really a devastating and confusing 3 months not knowing why I couldn’t even take steps/ what was going on with my calf/shin/hip, and I was so thankful to finish. How LUCKY AM I that my leg/hip/back is letting me do things I love still😊

 

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

START AND THEN CONTINUE. THE POWER OF MOVING MORE.

 

START AND THEN CONTINUE.  THE POWER OF MOVING MORE.

I’ve said it before, but here I go again…. MOVING is MEDICINE.

I acknowledge the privilege I have of watching people’s lives change through fitness.  I love that I get to coach and train all levels of fitness levels, and it is amazing to witness the power of moving more at ALL levels of fitness, from an Ironman athlete and committed marathon runner to the everyday person trying to stay healthy, mobile, balanced.

Let me share :

Some of you know I started a “PRIME FITNESS” group and I just discovered that it was almost exactly 5 years ago that we began together!  The class began as a group of ladies from my church who wanted a fitness class for I think it was above age 55 or 60 or whatever the age they said.  Of course, this was before COVID, so we all began together, in my exercise space in my house.  We started very beginner- I got an idea of where people were in their movements, taught good form and alignment, modifications for wrists/ knees/ shoulders/ hips/ backs (including my own!).  And we progressed.  And we progressed.  And we progressed.  For 5 years, this group has met 1-2x/week for a 45 min fitness class.  Over covid, we began zoom and kept consistently moving.  I delivered beach balls to their houses to celebrate “summer” of covid with this fun new little exercise toy.  Everyone has dumbbells, a stability ball, and ankle band, and we now continue on zoom.  This class…. (shhhhhhh… is now ADVANCED).  That doesn’t mean new people cannot begin- I’ve been doing this enough years to make it work for everyone, for modifications- you just have to have an open mind, not judge where you are against where someone else may be.

So, let me tell you about NOW.  These women.  I do not think they have any idea of how well they move, how fit they are, how strong they have gotten in 5 years.  They do cardio intervals, they do wall squats, stability ball pushups, jackknives, side planks, they move nonstop in SUCH challenging ways.  (I huff and puff while teaching them).  I sometimes just want to stop and smile and die laughing at AMAZEMENT.  THIS IS NOT NORMAL!  It is PHENOMENAL.  They LUNGE AND TWIST!  They lunge, touch the floor then lift up into a balance on one leg.  It sounds like bootcamp?  (ummmm because it IS! Except the running).  I know for a FACT that they have ALL DONE THINGS THEY DID NOT THINK THEY COULD DO. 

How freaking amazing.

We literally sometimes get through the first 15 minutes of a class and I think- good grief, we have ALREADY DONE SO MUCH!  It is my job of course, and also my passion, but I need to express how IMPORTANT it is to:  REACH OVERHEAD!  To TWIST! To side bend!  To balance on one foot!  To move the spine (cat cow). To know how to STABILIZE!  To notice where the body is in space.  To lose balance! And then try again! To move feet quickly!  To move SIDEWAYS.  And we do it all.  I’m like a mama bear gushing with pride.

And honestly, yes, I plan to always vary the workouts…. To hopefully keep things moving, fun, different challenges….. BUT THEY ARE THE ONES WHO SHOW UP.  FOR THEMSELVES.  On days when I am SURE they sometimes really don’t want to!  We all have those days!  And they SHOW FREAKING UP.  And we end up connecting, smiling, doing life together. 

The POWER. Of CONSISTENCY.  Making a choice day after day after week after week and year after year.  It has made a change.

This is just like all my groups.  I’m SO OVERLY filled with gratitude that I get to be a part of all of this!    

One of my favorite quotes of all times:  You get what you train for, not what you wish for.

 

Likewise, I was brought to TEARS earlier this week.  I was training someone who I have now been working with for 2 years.  Various situations had hit this person hard mentally and physically during COVID, and she was in a place that was not healthy.  She couldn’t reach up with her arms easily overhead and get into an extended position.  Sitting fully UPRIGHT with good posture in a chair wasn’t accessible.  She had a foot injury, so walking was limping, NOTHING WAS GOING RIGHT.  And. Ummmm….. She did NOT want to exercise.  But she knew she had to.  AND SO SHE DID.  And we are not where we yet are GOING TO BE, but we are ON OUR WAY!  She is now SHOULDER PRESSING 8# dumbbells overhead.  Squatting with energy and stepping up stairs, doing WALKING LUNGES that I wasn’t sure would be able to happen yet with her foot, but we have worked mobility everywhere in her body.  And this week, we got through a first half of yoga sun salutation- moving up and down, going down to lunging low on the floor, then stepping up BIG and standing and reaching again.  This is NOT A SMALL THING.  This is what she will need to do if she has grandchildren that she wants to play with and go from the floor to standing.  This is just LIFE.  And I cried to be a witness, to be watching STRONG PEOPLE DO HARD THINGS FOR THEMSELVES.  GOSH. 

 

So. This is why I believe in the power of movement so FIERCELY.  I SEE the difference it makes.  I see the difference that I have been able to manage my back pain for the past few years by working core to keep my spine stabilized.  That people are being in their bodies with awareness, being brave and trying new things, showing up to something that is UNKNOWN!  I mean--- I GET that when you work with me, you show up OPEN to whatever I have up my sleeve!!! YIKES! That’s brave, right?! And you just DO WHAT YOU CAN …. And sometimes a bit more.  And that is the magic.  It’s really pretty cool. 

Friday, May 19, 2023

GENERAL EATING BEFORE AND AFTER EARLY AM WORKOUTS

 

GENERAL EATING BEFORE AND AFTER EARLY AM WORKOUTS:

Could it really be that someone ASKED ME to write a blog of info on this?! YES I WILL!!!  (thanks Tina!).

So, the great question was, “how to eat before/after morning workouts to not crash during the day”.

OK there is so much info on this and the “fun” but frustrating part is that there isn’t a FORMULA to exactly follow because bodies are different.  That is the fun part- you get to take science, and then try to figure out the art of making it work for individual bodies.  The frustrating part is that sometimes it would be easier to follow a script, but- again- bodies react differently with GI system preferences and issues, as well as how sensitive your body is to insulin and other macronutrients that you take in, along with other personal differences.

*speaking of- in this brief info on “nutrition” around eating- I’m not even going to use words like macronutrients because some people are like what IS THAT?  (it is the type /category of foods that you take in.  So, let’s say it like it is- we will be talking about carbohydrate (cho), protein and fats… and fiber).

If you are working out early morning, the goal and purpose of the workout/training session is important to consider.  If you are out for a low intensity walk or easy jog or bike then you could do that workout without eating (fasted).  However, if you have a workout where you are asking your body to do strength, any high intensity intervals, sustained work at a higher level, you want to have something to eat, even if minimal, to have some blood glucose to help serve as fuel for that high intensity work.  (otherwise, the purpose of the workout is compromised…. And then—you aren’t getting as fit/fast/results from what you are spending your time doing!)  So, this could be having a sip or even a small amount of juice, a few bites or a half of a banana (or a whole banana), or some berries/grapes/pineapple slices.  Something with carbohydrate source to give your body fast energy.  Remember, if you are working out with intention, with the purpose of getting stronger, you need to be able to train in a way that allows you to train well.  You need to fuel for that training.  You cannot just will your body to do things it doesn’t have the resources to perform.  You wouldn’t ask a car to drive on no gas. (see later hints on eliminating carbohydrates).

AFTER the workout:  The higher intensity exercise- (both cardio and strength), the more important it is to get in your recovery nutrition ASAP, and this means ideally within the first 20 minutes.  This sometimes isn’t easy.  If you drove to a workout, you might need to pack something in your car if it is longer than this.  If not 20 min then 30-40 and DEFINITELY within first hour, otherwise you are compromising recovery as well as compromising your immune system.  For ideal muscle repair and recovery/rebuilding, you want to have a minimum of 150-200 calorie carbohydrate/protein snack.  Examples could be yogurt with berries, tart cherry juice has been shown to help recovery as well as immune system health after hard/long training sessions, and you would want to pair that with maybe 1 hard boiled egg/1 egg white or however you choose to cook them.  A smoothie could fit into this recovery model as well. Another option is overnight oats with berries, or a whole grain piece of toast with egg and avocado.  If you need to pack something, pack a half a sandwich, or even half a PBand banana sandwich (on whole grain). 

OTHER GENERAL NUTRITION HINTS that are your just easy general guidelines to always resort back to:

1.       Any snack or meal- you should always be able to look at your food and it should be comprised of:  a fruit or vegetable, combined with a protein or dairy. (example:  an apple is not a good snack.  An apple combined with almonds would be.  Likewise, a spinach side salad is not a great snack, but a spinach side with cottage cheese on top (and maybe strawberries) would be!)

2.       Snack needs to be minimum of 150 calories in order to stimulate your metabolism.  We all would like for our metabolism to be revved as much as possible, right?!

3.       I always recommend (and personally rely on this mentality for nutrition) to have a diet of INCLUSION versus exclusion.  “how much GOOD can I get into my body”… so I always have a focus of trying to get in as close to 5 fruits and 5 veggies/day (combined with the above- including it with protein/dairy as well as whole grain).  If I am eating well on a diet of INCLUSION, then first of all, I’m satiated, but not going about thinking and obsessing about “I am trying to NOT eat something (which just personally makes me want to eat it!).

4.       Keep a food log- and it doesn’t need to be fancy- if you take 2 weekdays and 1 weekend day to write down what you eat, times (include liquid also, even water), you will get a sense of what you may need to modify to feel more energetic and balanced.

5.       CARBOHYDRATES ARE NOT BAD.  If you are an athlete you NEED THEM.  They are the only source of fuel for your BRAIN as well!  Unless you have a medical condition that you have been medically advised to take out carbohydrates you NEED THEM.  (I also have never met someone overweight who got that way by eating too many apples, right?)  If you are exercising and active, you need carbohydrates – just be sure to have the appropriate ones!  Whole grains- (has to have the word WHOLE- so bread from the grocery store that is “wheat bread” is not whole wheat) are your friend- brown rice, whole wheat pastas are not something you need to eliminate. 

*Note:  I am not including any information on fueling DURING exercise, which is another huge topic to consider for long workouts lasting over an hour, particularly in training for performance.

I hope this helps, and I love answering questions, so anyone else please ask away if there are other questions!

Monday, March 20, 2023

SHAMROCK HALF MARATHON 2023

 

Well, so I did it!  I won’t rehash all my previous oversharing about hip and not even knowing how to not RACE in a race, but to simply go and be in it and attend it.  I completely showed up at this race hoping I could actually get THROUGH IT- somehow, which I realized may involve walking, to the finish line.  And I did!

Overall, it was better than I expected.  I was so lucky and happy to know someone else at this race and be able to see them at the start line as they prepared for their BIG EVENT- the marathon with big goals. So, it honestly HELPED ME to not be in my own head.  I was mostly in my head at this point about worrying if I would need to go to the bathroom during the run.

I had jogged a mile as a warm up to get to the start line and I was SUPER nervous because THIS DID NOT FEEL GOOD.  I was having my big unfortunate SHIN / ANKLE cramping issue on that jog, I Have ZERO idea why.  But I thought, well, maybe now after walking it out and standing around for a bit, it won’t happen again.  AND IT DIDN’T! I am so thankful because I seem to have no control over when it comes or not.

Anyway, the race began and I started and stuck to my job of jogging easy and steady.  I started breathing a little, but not at all that first mile typical of a race, and my legs were just literally jogging and I was checking in thinking, anything with shin?  And NOTHING, so it was great!  I had planned that maybe this mile could be a 9 min mile pace, but honestly, I’ve gone out recently for runs and the first mile can be anywhere up to 11:30 even because my legs sometimes just do not function.  I knew on flat, it would be easier, but still didn’t want to overdo since I’m not fit enough to push right now, and I thought 9 may be a good guess.  I was at 8:45.  But I was ok with it being slightly under 9 because my effort was literally just totally fine.  I didn’t want to get excited, and I told myself to just keep it as it was and see how the first 4 miles felt.  I kept the effort, but each mile kept sneaking up a little faster.  I didn’t want to do the wrong thing, but I just kept checking in with my effort and I knew I was just easy and steady and fine.

We were at maybe 3.5-6, heading out of this residential street and up a hill and I was still in a large crowd of people and I Hear behind me, like maybe a tenth of a mile behind me (so not like directly behind me) a guy continuously YELLING something.  Like he was having a conversation ina YELLING voice.  Like he wanted everyone to hear?!  I was like wtf is this guy doing.  Until I realized, OK, I think he is a pacer and he kept yelling out when he could see port a pots coming up on the right, or water stations, reminding people nuun in blue, water in white cups, etc.  He was telling stories though as well and all in this SHOUTING VOICE, which I was honestly like I Have GOT to get away from this guy.  The noise was breaking up my head space and I was kind of like, first: how is a guy YELLING HIS WORDS CONTINUOUSLY, like he has literally not shut up yet.  And also- does he think we really all want to hear his conversations and stories.  They were all fine and random, but I found it odd.  Anyway, I finally disconnected from his noise and let it be less annoying.

Once we entered fort story, I Realized the port o pots weren’t happening anymore and… of course I start to think, uh oh, I might need one.  But it wasn’t a disaster, so I just kept steady and was fine.  I took a stinger for some calories at mile 4 and I wonder if that was what started me thinking I needed to use a bathroom, and then knowing I couldn’t?  Anyway, it wasn’t until afdter the 8 mile mark that there was a bathroom, so I headed into that and luckily was fine for the rest of the race!  I started to also at that point really start to feel LEGS.  Like my running/ breathing/ cardio was FINE… I was not working hard at all.  But my legs were beginning to get fatigued, and I realized I don’t have enough training under me to really know how this is going to go.  I’m still just holding steady effort, although I had descended and had a few miles under the 8 min mile pace at like 7:57, 7:53, 7:53 and I was like NO FASTER SHARON.  But then again, it was flat and I don’t’ even know what that is like since running in reston is so naturally hilly EVERYWHERE.  After I got out of the bathroom, we exited fort Story soon and there we were back in the neighborhood roads, people on the side streets cheering us on.  With my legs getting tired and the worry in my head that maybe my legs wouldn’t be able to keep going, I just committed to getting to the next mile and not doing any pushing.

My miles did start to back into the low 8’s for pace here.  I kept thinking about Rachel ahead of me who was on her big marathon day, and how honestly I was SO THANKFUL to not be doing the marathon!  (although I was realizing, dUH, I wouldn’t have as tired of legs if I had because I would have done some more TRAINING!)  I was happy to hit 10 miles because in my mind I had thought, geez, you may have to walk the last few miles back, and I knew at 10 that I could at least run another mile.  And same thing at 11, I was like I can do a mile , I’m still fine, now I’m working and my legs are progressively getting more fatigued but I’m okay and HIP is not doing anything funky with giving out at all!  At 12, I definitely knew I could finish, and maybe tried to just KEEP effort here, although that was now resulting in slowing down.

We turned to go onto the boardwalk and it was CRAZY CHURNING of the ocean, the wind was so strong by the ocean.  I absolutely hate running on the cement boardwalk, even though I love being right up next to the ocean, the cement surface I can FEEL IMMEDIATELY in my feet and legs and back.  But I knew it was just the last bit up to the finish line.  I did get a little extra oomph in last ¼ mile as I saw the finish and again, this was just a feeling of PURE enjoyment of participating and being pleasantly surprised that I wasn’t nearly as slow as I thought I might be.  I literally thought that I might be like 20-30 minutes slower, depending on how things were “functioning”, so I was so grateful to be running in decent form and while not near my regular half marathon times, I was acutely aware that I could have been way back taking a long walk in.  This was such a motivating marathon to me- do be able to participate, and within that participation, realizing that maybe this might be the new normal- not needing to try to go fast, just going with what I have on that day- and it was still REWARDING!!!! 

*It certainly didn’t hurt that we were at the OCEAN and that I got to stay in a room that was OCEAN FREAKING FRONT. Like the entire night before the race, I could hear waves.  It was AMAZING.  I was so thankful in so many ways.

Below are my splits for my review if I ever do this race again.  Thanks for reading😊

Mile 1 8:45

2              8:26

3              8:19

4              8:02

5              7:57

6              7:53

7              7:53

8              8:02

9              8:44 (bathroom break)

10           8:09

11           8:12

12           8:20

13           8:14

Finish    1:38

Total: 1:48:39