Let Shadowless Groundhogs Lie

groundhog_day

The very first thing you have to ask yourself when trying to change something about yourself is, “why do I want to change”?  If you’re doing it for extrinsic validation, i.e. to look sexy, to appear smart, to become the perfect mom/dad stereotype, to make others notice how hot I am, or simply because this is how society is programming me to believe I should appear, etc. etc. yadda yadda… it’s pretty certain the change won’t be long term and you’ll find yourself back to the same place at the end of 2015 where you’ll be pondering 2016’s goals, and here we go, it’s Groundhog Day all over again.

The only reason a person should want to change is because their current situation or behavior is stopping them from growing in a direction they’re being called to grow in.  You are “here” and life, in its awesome mysterious way, wants you to move “there”. We are always, as long as we’re breathing, being called to grow and to move forward, individually and collectively.  For example, weight seems to be the #1 thing people want to change about themselves (me too).  Ask yourself, why do I want to be 10, 15, 50 lbs. lighter?  If your motivation is for something or someone other than your own well-being, it’s very likely that eventually at some point, you’ll fail.  You may lose the weight, but you won’t keep it off.  Why is that?  Because we’re not created (evolved) to live OUR lives to be pleasing to OTHERS expectations/approvals and deep down inside in that ego-free subconscious realm, we know it.  We know that we have to be wholly pleasing to ourselves.  Shakespeare had it right when he said, “to thine own self be true”.  Lie to the world if you must, but dammit don’t lie to yourself. (actually, as the quote goes on, in essence, if you’re true to yourself, it follows suite that you’ll be truthful to others as well).   So before you think about changing, ask yourself if you really need to change or all those magazine covers just lying to you (me); If you realize change is necessary, but only based on what this unwanted behavior or condition is or isn’t providing, then ask yourself how will the change help you to grow.  Myself, personally, I have goals in triathlon that I know I could meet with a lot less wear and tear on my body if I were 25-30 lbs. lighter.  I currently weigh 165 lbs. and that would put me around 135-140lbs., a very healthy weight range for my height. I know in that weight range, I can accomplish my goals in triathlon and I will not do nearly the amount of damage to my joints with less weight.  I’m not negating the bonus factor of increased speed, but that is not my primary motivator; a strong healthy body into old age is what I focus on as I’m approaching my 50’s.

Now, once you’ve asked the “whys” and truthfully answered them, hopefully you can find reasons for your own self rather than others expectations and continue with the work it’ll take to change.  Which brings us to the next most important thing regarding resolutions or goals and that is that we have to accept that real change takes time.  Don’t rush it, it’s January 1st and you’ll have a whole year to set the course and reach the goal.  This, too, has been a downfall for my own changes.  I want it and I want it NOW, and I work my ass off for it, but guess what?  You guessed it.  It doesn’t last.  I’ve changed my physical form by a super aggressive short term disciplined behavior but I haven’t permanently changed the habits that created the problem to begin with.  I’m learning.  I’m human.  I’m Bill Murray.  It’s better to take baby steps consistently than to dive in like a bat out of hell.  Whatever goals you’re setting, break them down a bit further, now even smaller and then gradually build up to the end result.  In essence, you’re building on a solid foundation that won’t crumple  The growth will begin, the paradigm shift will take place and once that movement happens, you will not regress.  The better/healthier habit is formed and it will be natural behavior rather than work. That is true growth.  Now go kick some major ass this year. For your healthy you.

Swim, Bike, Run, Live, Love and Breath ~ Vicky

Advertisements

This Grinch-Like Heart

1291017466_1920x1080_how-the-grinch-stole-christmas

Admittedly, I’m not a very sentimental person.  I enjoy family, friends and love the Holidays, but it’s rare that I get the mushy, gushy feelings of nostalgia and over zealous Christmas cheer.  I’m sure the commercialization of the Holy Day has something to do with it (but that’s another blog).  Today, however was different and it all started last week.

Breakfast for Dinner

Thursday night was spent with my amazing friends.  We ran our usual four to five miles and then celebrated Christmas with a “breakfast for dinner” meal in my cozy (small) condo. There were 15 of us and even though there was a lot of bumping into each other and “excuse me’s”- nobody minded.  And actually, as I constantly apologized for the cramped space, I was matter-of-factly reminded that the kitchen size was bothering me more than anyone else. Thank you friends: Heard, and noted.  I’m blessed to have friends in my life who choose to be together because we actually like eachother;  in run, in life and in rubbing elbows (literally) while sipping wine.

Home for the Holidays

The very next day, I got to spend a WONDERFUL evening with one of my best friends, Maria, and her daughter Holly and my Lilly Lou.  We started off with dinner at Pegasus’ in Greektown and just laughed and joked with the girls who, not surprisingly, looked beautiful.  Christmas events are always special, the night is filled with lights and music, an excuse to wear your fanciest duds, put on full makeup including eye shadow and yes, even bring out the high heels.  But especially when you experience these moments with your favorite people.  They’re not little girls anymore, but on these special nights I’m taken back to many Holiday Events when they were dressed in velvet and platinum and just as giggly as this night. We finished the cheesecake and wine and made our way to Orchestra Hall to enjoy the DSO’s Home for the Holidays Performance.

Housewarming and Heartwarming

Saturday, I spent more time with friends at a get together for Vickie’s housewarming party – a few hours of laughing, (more) eating and watching Vickie open her gifts.  If anyone deserves happiness and the gathering of friends in support of her during a very difficult time in ones life, she does.  She is kind and thoughtful and reminds me that the hardships of life can be handled with grace and head held high.  I love her, she’s a blessing in my life.   Now, I have to admit, I had only planned to hang out for a couple hours since Saturday was my only day off and there was still tons to do before Christmas.  Bonk. Forget that, my friends and I don’t do quickies.  There is always something to talk or laugh about and my thought that I’ll be out of there by six o’clock turned into almost 9 pm.  (I’ll blame Ian, he just loves when we overstay our welcome).

Christmas Eve

So, fast forward to Christmas Eve, I worked until three pm, ran around for groceries, grabbed ingredients for the next three meals (eve, morning and night) and headed home to start dinner and wrap gifts while the kids were at work.  As a last minute thought, I admit, I invited my neighbor to come for Christmas Eve dinner since she has no family in Michigan.  Kathy is an incredible friend and neighbor and makes the most delicious sugar cookies and caramel popcorn. The fact that she had dropped off a batch of both had nothing to do with the invite! She is always giving and always kind.  Christmas is about being together and (read Thursday’s event) there’s plenty of room in my kitchen for one more.  After a nice big meal, we relaxed a bit then made our way to Midnight Mass.  I still find it special to go to church at that hour of night.

Christmas Day

Every year, I wake up early, plug in the tree and put on Christmas music.  Both kids enthusiastically still look forward to opening their gifts and are genuinely grateful for what they receive.  It’s nice to see how their gifts to eachother have become more and more thoughtful throughout the years.  (And, once again Secret Santa’s Ding-Dong-Ditch Christmas goodies were left on our front porch).  After eating brunch, we load ourselves and grandma’s gifts into the car and go for a visit.  As much as I love my friends, my family is the best.  They are the safety and security that I don’t ever have to wonder about. It’s a given that we will always look out for eachother.  We have always gotten along and our get-togethers are a good time with no “family drama”.   Nani’s house has always been filled with the voices and laughter of kids and she loves taking care of us, even now when she should be sitting back, she insists on always having food ready because she’s certain someone might be hungry.  And, she’s right.  Someone always is.

So, as I’m hustling and bustling, getting this gift and that; planning events and attending others all while working more than a forty hour a week job (and let’s not forget trying to squeeze in a run or two), I take a few minutes on this Christmas Night and reminisce of the last few weeks and feel my Grinch-like heart “grow three sizes this day”.  Every minute of all the effort is worth it.  Every day I see clearer and clearer that these are all fleeting moments that quickly become memories, and the more I create the richer I am.

Thank you and Merry Christmas to every person in my life.  God Bless.

Around the World (Recipes Included) – No. 2

Brighton, Michigan USA

2

Tonight’s run took us around the world.  Well not literally, the epicurious portion of tonight’s run did; the geographical portion kept us in Brighton.  On both levels, I think we all agree it can be logged in as another successful Thursday Night Soup & Salad run.  The weather hasn’t gotten to an unbearable point yet, we had 32 degrees and even though there was some snowfall we haven’t had to deal with any accumulation (kind of looking forward to pulling out the Yaktrax).  The runners this week included:  Ian & Lin, Vickie, Lisa & Andy, Jo, Claudia and myself.   The soups this week were internationally inspired:  Tuscan Minestrone, Chicken Tortilla and a traditional Greek Salad.

Tuscany, Italy

Tuscan-villa-480x318

Tuscan Minestrone

  • 2 TB.  Olive Oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1 med. onion, chopped
  • 1/2 red pepper, chopped
  • 2 zucchini, chopped
  • 2 summer squash, chopped
  • 2 large handfuls of fresh spinach
  • 6-7 springs of thyme leaves
  • 1/2 Ditali noodles or any small noodle
  • 2 tsp. oregano
  • 2 TB. garlic powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 qts. Vegetable Stock
  • 1 cup each of broccoli, cauliflower and green beans
  • 1 can dark kidney beans (drained/rinsed)
  • 1 can garbanzo beans (drained/rinsed)
  • 1 can tomato sauce

Directions:

  1. I boil the noodles separately, al dente then I add them to the finished product so they don’t get mushy
  2. Sauté, in olive oil, for a few minutes the carrots, celery, onion, garlic, red pepper, thyme, oregano, salt, garlic powder
  3. Add the 3 qts. of vegetable stock and boil, then add the tomato sauce and boil, then add salt to taste
  4. Let boil about 10 minutes, add the broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, kidney beans and chick peas
  5. Let boil for about 15-20 minutes (a nice gradual “medium” boil don’t let the soup boil crazy)
  6. I add the zucchini, squash and spinach at the last 3-4 minutes so they stay a bit more firm; I also add the noodles at this point so they warm up a bit.
  7. Top with a good quality parmesan cheese

Hint:  This is a great meal to serve good hard-crust bread and some dipping oils

Acapulco, Mexico

La_Quebrada_Cliff_Acapulco_Mexico

Chicken Tortilla

  • Whole chicken – about 5-6 lbs. (4 qts. water)
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic, chopped
  • 1 bag frozen corn
  • small jar of salsa
  • 2 cans dark kidney beans (drained/rinsed)
  • 2 cans black beans (drained/rinsed)
  • 2 cans tomato sauce
  • 2 TBS. chicken base
  • 1 TB cumin
  • 1 TB chili powder
  • 1 tspn. chipotle pepper
  • 1 tspn. garlic powder
  • salt to taste
  • 1 Bag of tortillas cut into triangles and baked for 15 minutes at 375 degrees (they might need to be flipped once).  I deep fried the tortillas
  • Toppings:  chopped tomatoes, red onions, avocado, sour cream and white cheddar

Directions:

  1. Thoroughly rinse a whole chicken and boil for apx. 1 hr. 45 min. to 2 hours
  2. Remove chicken and debone; with your fingers, pull apart the chicken; save the meat to add to the soup later
  3. Strain the water in a sieve to remove all small pieces and any small bones
  4. Before re-adding the water to the pot, saute the onion and garlic for a couple minutes in olive oil
  5. Put the water back in the pot and add more as needed (due to evaporation)
  6. Boil the chicken broth water and add the salsa, corn, kidney beans and black beans
  7. Boil and add the tomato sauce
  8. Boil and add the cumin, chili powder and salt to taste
  9. Medium boil for apx. 20 minutes then add the roux to thicken
  10. Boil for a few minutes, then add the chicken and COMPLETE!

Mykonos, Greece

mykonos-greece

Greek Salad

pic44a4iI

http://greek.food.com/recipe/the-ultimate-greek-salad-90975

Thursday Soup & Salad Run (Recipes Included) – No. 1

th

Recipes Included

What do you get when you combine fresh veggies, chicken stock, lentils, potatoes, acorn squash, pomegranate arils, a variety of running shoes, headlamps, reflector vests, heart rate monitors, red wine, white wine and fresh bread? If you toss in close to 1/2 dozen friends, you have the ingredients for a great night of running followed by Soup & Salad, Bread & Wine.  Schedule it for once a week on Thursday’s throughout the winter, and it’s officially the first of many Soup and Salad Thursday runs.  The bonus to this ongoing blogged-ritual is that I will be posting the recipes to my soups and salads. (woohoo, secrets will be revealed).  The soups are 100% my own recipes.  The salads may or may not be my own.  If I borrow any recipes, I will definitely give credit where credit is due.

This was our first run of the 2014 winter season, but not its first year.  We started about two winters ago when my friends and I wanted to keep running outside even though the days were getting shorter as the mercury in the thermostat was moving lower.  If you live in Michigan, or know Michigan weather, running in the winter is nothing to turn your nose up at.  Michigan winter running is worse than any heartbreak hill out there or even worse than pulling off the blackened and bruised toenails many runners know oh so well.  Imagine the hours before a run.  Inside, your home is warm and cozy, maybe even wood burning in the fireplace, outside, it’s sub-freezing temps, the snow piles are growing by the hour and icicles hanging everywhere.  Even the thought of changing out of your warm clothes into running gear is a task.  But wait, there’s more.  There’s slush, ice, wind and pellets of hail, at times.  It’s harsh, it’s painful.  There has to be some reward to get us out the door.  That’s where the food comes in.  Ahhh, yes Food, the great and never failing motivator.   We tackle the elements because we know what’s waiting at the end of four to six miles.  The hot, healthy soup washed down with sips of delicious wine and the time spent with great friends; that’s motivation enough for us to gather up a few layers of clothes, reflector vests, and headlamps and make our way out the front door.

The runs are typically 4-6 miles thru the sub, onto Main Street.  We follow a path that goes behind the shops onto the boardwalk that crosses over the Mill Pond.  We run past our favorite running store.  The route has a perfect mix of eclectic distractions so the run never gets dull, especially during the Christmas Season when the storefront windows are decorated.  The loop brings us back home to a warm kitchen and hot soup, a lot of laughs, stories and wine-sipping.  The soups this week are:  Potato Jalapeno.  Vegetable Lentil (for our two vegetarians) and the salad was Acorn Squash & Pomegranate with a pomegranate dressing.

Potato Jalapeño  Soup

  • 2 quarts of water
  • 2 TB chicken base
  • 1 TB garlic powder
  • medium potatoes, cubed and 2 handfuls of hashbrowns 
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped 
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped 
  • 1 jar of pickled jalapeno slices, chopped (save the juice)
  • 1 quart 2% milk 
  •  flour and butter for roux

Directions:

  1. In a large stockpot, bring water to a boil
  2. Add the chicken base and garlic and celery, carrots, onion and the handfuls of hash browns (the hash browns will dissolve and thicken the soup)
  3. Boil for about 20 minutes
  4. Add the cubed potatoes, boil for about 20 minutes
  5. Reduce heat to medium and when the soup is NOT boiling, slowly add the milk
  6. Simmer on medium heat for about a half hour
  7. Use a couple tablespoons of butter and a couple tablespoons of flower to make the roux  and gradually add to soup while mixing thoroughly
  8. Let it boil for just a minute with the roux
  9. Add the chopped jalapeños and juice, boil for one minute*
  10. *(do not leave on heat for too long as the heat from the peppers will get more intense the longer you leave it on the burner.

Vegetable Lentil Soup

  • 3 quarts of Vegetable Stock
  • 1 pound bag of lentils
  • 1 TB of garlic, minced
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 3 cups broccoli
  • 3 cups cauliflower
  • 1 TB tomato paste
  • salt, pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of thyme
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • 1 bay leaf

Directions:

  1. In a large stockpot, sauté the onions, garlic, carrots and celery in olive oil for 10 minutes
  2. Add the vegetable stock and bring to a boil, add tomato paste
  3. Add the cauliflower and broccoli
  4. Add the lentils and salt, pepper, thyme, cumin and bay leaf
  5. Boil for about half hour

Autumn Arugula Salad  (This salad I used from the Internet, I did tweak it to my liking and I used a store bought pomegranate dressing)

http://www.howsweeteats.com/2013/10/autumn-arugula-salad/

Autumn-Arugula-Salad-with-Caramelized-Squash-Spiced-Pecans-and-Pomegranate-Ginger-Vinaigrette-4

Salt & Vinegar Chips

Salt-and-Vinegar-Chips

Salt & Vinegar Chips

The races are done and the pressure is off, now you can breathe and sit back a little bit.  If you want, you can even indulge in your favorite forbidden food (a whole bag of salt & vinegar chips for me).  Don’t judge, don’t cringe, even the pro’s do it!  Hopefully, the tri-season for most people was rewarding in and of itself and all the sacrifices of time, energy, a social life and really yummy un-healthy food has paid off.  Being a triathlete requires a lot of giving up of stuff, but now, with the last race recorded in your journal or at the very least shared on Facebook, it’s time to stop, breath, think and yes, eat.  I’ve actually been reading on what the top coaches recommend to their athletes when they’re not in action or intense-training mode.  I’ve learned, that loosely, this off-season period should consist of five-phases.  Rest. Reward. Review. Reset. Plan.  (I know, I couldn’t come up with a good R-word that identified the “Plan” stage).

Your major work for the year is done.  Rest.  Rest your body, rest your mind, rest your bike, and your shoes and your wetsuit.  That doesn’t necessarily mean tuck them away in the closet and forget they’re there.  In this phase, you get to decide what that means.  It might be as big as a vacation or as small as decreasing your activities to one or two a week.  The key to this period, the importance of it is that our bodies and our minds need “real” recovery, not just the day or two between intense workouts, or the recovery from minor aches and pains, they need some good and serious TLC.  Rest & Reward go hand in hand, while you’re decreasing the intensity of your workouts, this is the time to book that massage session or reach out to the friend with a hot tub and let your body feel and enjoy the rewards of gentle hands on your hard working muscles or the therapy of warm, bubbly water, throw in some wine-therapy and your body will truly love you.  You have most definitely earned it.  Eat the things you love.  Stay up late, read something non-sport related.  Shift the Balance back to Center.

Only after you’ve allowed yourself a couple of really good Rest/Reward sessions (at least one professional site, I forget which one or I would give them credit recommends between 2 – 4 weeks) should you begin the next phase.  In the review phase, think of the goals you had set the past season.  Did you meet them? Did you exceed them? Where did you surprise yourself?  Where did you come short?  This is the time to think about the things you accomplished and what you learned during your training and competing.   Make a list of the things that worked out well and the things that weren’t worth the time and/or effort.  With so much information available to us through the internet and other media sources, it’s easy to become bogged down with “tips” and if you’re like me, you probably want to try every method that promises to increase your speed and decrease your weight.  Review what worked for you through actual application and build on that.  This is another step towards balance, as my friend Suzanne would love to say, in her most adorable southern drawl, “Honey, sometimes the juice just ain’t worth the squeeze.”  With such precious little free time we triathletes get, figure out what juice is worth squeezing.

You’ve rested, rewarded yourself, reviewed last season’s up and downs, now it’s time to Reset next season’s goals.  The reason I say reset is because what you may have planned for the next season, after reviewing the previous one is going to need tweaking.   If you had some long bike races in the original goals but realize that your swimming was not at the level you’d expected or hoped it would be, them maybe some swim events might take the place of a few bike events, etc.  The important thing about reviewing is that it allows you to as objectively as possible see where your future efforts need to be focused.  Two seasons ago, I was at an extremely difficult place in my triathlon journey.  I was a terrible swimmer and deathly afraid of open water.  I know it’s fairly common and technically, it didn’t stop me from getting into the water, however; for two or three days prior to any event I was making myself sick from worry and fear, it got to the point that at the end of that tri-season, 2013, I told myself, either I was going to become a better and more confident swimmer or I was going to hang up my tri-gear for good, at least in competition.  Truthfully, even at the moment, I knew that wasn’t an option, however it made me act.  I joined a Master’s Swim Team (MAC Swim Team, which will be the topic of future blogs), worked hard all winter long.  In the summer of 2014, despite feelings of  frustration and inadequacy I completed a Swim to the Moon 5k.  Yes, 3.1 miles of open water swimming.  Little ole scardy cat me.   I never imagined that would be possible, but I did it.  I still get nervous in open water but not nearly as bad.  So, the point is, take time to rethink your goals to make sure you’re getting the best training where you need it.

The last phase is the planning phase.  Research the events that you’re interested in.  Make sure you know if they are qualifying events, how quickly they fill up.  This is a good time to see if early registration offers a discounted price for entry.  Check out some of the previous year’s age-group times and what your goals are based on past participant’s performances.  Review the courses.  Will you need to train for hills?  Is the swim in a small quarry or a major lake?  Also, especially if you’re mixing in other events besides triathlons, make sure they’re spaced out accordingly.  You don’t want to plan a cluster of small events together and then a group of large events back to back.  It’s important to give yourself enough recovery time between major or intense events.  Take into consideration the time of year, will you have had enough open water training swims?  The same with biking, even though you can train on spin bikes or trainers during the winter, nothing compares to rolling wheels on pavement.  Also, its a good time to actually plan, a general outline of what your training schedule will be like.

Triathlon training is very intense and very time-consuming.  The rigorous workouts take so much from our bodies, and equally, if not more so, from our minds and our hearts.  It’s not unusual to become depleted after an intense season and we need to rejuvenate to remain healthy.   Our bodies provide and perform for us every day and it’s important to appreciate what we put them through and kindly and lovingly take care of them.  Finding the right balance at the right time will increase the likelihood of many, many years of triathlon fun.  So, I’m going to end this blog, grab my Salt & Vinegar chips and thoroughly enjoy each and every one.

Swim, Bike, Run, Breath, Live and Love ~ Vicky

H.U.R.T.

Howell Underground Running Team

H.U.R.T.

Tonight was my first official run with the Howell Underground Running Team, also known as H.U.R.T., not to be confused with the original H.U.R.T., Hawai’i Ultra Running Team, but for my level of running, equally challenging. This group is based in Howell, Michigan, a nice small town where I’m sure most of the runners’ kids go to school together and many of the parents attend similar social functions, or at least a cold beer and tasty burger at Cleary’s Pub after a run, as we did tonight. I live in the next town over so I’m really not in the same social circle but was invited by a friend to join and thought I’d give them a try.

Technically, it wasn’t my first run with H.U.R.T. group members. I’d run a few times with Brenna & Nancy, at Bishop Lake, which is a wonderful park with great trails. A description of these trails, or Michigan in the Fall for that matter, could only be done justice by the writing talents of authors like Henry David Thoreau or Emily Dickinson. I can try to describe the spectacular bursts of color; the orange, reds, yellows, and browns, and the trails that in Spring and Summer are worn-down by the clodding of runner’s feet forming paths of dirt and tree roots but in Autumn months become covered with the same color of fallen leaves as those remaining on the trees, causing the illusion of running through a kaleidoscope tunnel.  No words I can put together would do it justice.  I love my small town, I love the woods and trails, and I love running and sharing with like-minded people.

Now, back to the other small town and H.U.R.T. Tonight’s run was changed-up a bit from their normal Monday night run because of Halloween. Jen, who is the head honcho, and seems to run this club quite efficiently, organized a fun run instead. The children were invited and got to play Halloween games with Mrs Jen while the adults zipped onto the course for a 5K night run.  We started in front of the old Courthouse and followed the same course of the previous week’s Headless Horseman Race which was the same race I had PR’ed in, two years prior.  It was nice to run it again, but it also made me a little sad to realize how much I’ve regressed in my running. Oh well, “Start Where You Are”.  We ran through neighborhoods, weaving up and down hilly blocks of old homes; the kind of homes that make you want to slow down just to admire their architecture. You can’t run by them and not crave a glass of apple cider and a thick hooded sweatshirt as you watch the porch swings sway in the autumn night air.  But we came here to run, so onward and upward.  We ran past Thompson Lake, which in and of itself is beautiful to look at with the reflections of the lights from the homes across the way. It’s a completely different view at night and for the time you’re running along it’s shore, it’s so easy to forget any misery or nagging pains you might be feeling.   We continued through the cemetery and I found myself wondering how much peace, with all the clattering of feet, we were allowing the tenants to rest in, this night.  From there, we headed back to the courthouse to round up the 5K. Brenna and I decided to run an additional two miles; she needed extra mileage for an upcoming half marathon and I just wanted to keep running #forrestgump.

To wind down the night, Jen had reserved space for us to eat and drink and socialize at Cleary’s Pub, a favorite watering hole for the locals and family-friendly so kids can join as well.  I felt very comfortable and welcomed by the table of new runner friends I shared a drink with. At one point, a sweet little future runner of about 8, realized I had no food in front of me and said, “you can share our pizza, we don’t mind.” This is the good-stuff of small towns. From the gathering on the Courthouse lawn, the 5k turned 5 mile run, and the sharing hearts of 8-year olds, I really enjoyed the evening.  I’m looking forward to many future runs with H.U.R.T. and hope to keep making wonderful memories and creating new blog stories with this small town running team.

Swim, Bike, Run, Breathe, Live and Love ~ Vicky

Start Where You Are

Start Where You Are

Start Where You Are

If you read Blog #1, you know that Blog #2 and future blogs are mostly going to be health and fitness related. However, I do reserve the right to deviate from the topic at will and in the spirit of full disclosure want to state that deviations, distractions and ADD moments do often occur.   Like right now, I can clearly see myself wanting to talk about at least a dozen other topics, but will force myself  to stay on the I’m-going-to-get-healthy-if-it-kills-me stuff.  Over the last couple years, the idea of following triathlon fitness, not just for participation but as a lifestyle/career path has been slowly and gradually taking root.   I’m observing firsthand that the saying is true, ‘if you follow your passion, you’ll never work a day in your life’. In just a couple of short weeks, I’ve noticed the most incredible difference in myself and this interesting thing called “purpose”.  If you can find it and follow it, you will truly start to live and grow; and, I’ve noticed it’s almost impossible to grow or change in one area of my life without all the other areas growing and changing right along.  I’m fully committed and super excited to begin my relationship with this path of Whole Health:  Body, Mind and Soul.  (Wow, I just realized that’s Tri-Fuzion on a whole other level).

A little over a week ago, I received my Certified Personal Trainer Manual and Study Guides in the mail. I’ve decided to use the American Council on Exercise (ACE) program for a couple different reasons but the basic jist of it is that their program just seems to make the most sense to me and offers the most for the money. It’s nationally accredited by the NCCA and meets high-standard testing guidelines.  There are quite a few organizations out there that teach Personal Trainer Certification, but this one seemed to be the best fit for me.  Ok, that’s decided and here I am.  Books in hand.  I am ready.  Brand-new-never-been-marked-on-crispy-clean-virgin-pages, waiting for my neon highlighter to outline the choice words with a yellow halo and magically transport them to my brain, thus, transforming me into the greatest personal trainer in the history of the ACE’s history.  That didn’t happen.   Instead of this magic, transforming moment, I got major noggin-rebellion.  That’s right my brain was rejecting every bit of information I was desperately trying to feed it. The more I tried to focus and remind it to get serious, the more stubborn it became. It wasn’t budging.  The road blocks were up, the “do not disturb” signs were posted and the “out to lunch” message was definitely communicated.  Why, brain? Why are you fighting me?  I’m guessing its mostly because I’ve pretty much left it alone for the last 15 yrs. or so. Oh sure, I’ve completed the occasional crossword puzzle and I definitely read a lot, but that is “for-fun” stuff, there’s nothing riding on the line there. This, however, is important and let’s face it, it’s work.  It’s good information and it’s information I crave, but it’s no Steven Spielberg or even Agatha Christie novel.  Dare I say?  It’s a little dull.  So, my first step was to identify the problem. Problem identified. With the second step, I’m gently easing into the study and I’m not getting crazy frustrated when I have to read the same paragraph 14 and a half times.   And, third, my note-taking skills have grown exponentially, mostly due to necessity,  in just a few days.  (also, equally important is that I transformed a corner of my bedroom into quiet study space).  It’s working, all these ideas seem to be doing the trick, baby steps.

The changes don’t stop there.  Let’s talk about The Bod.  Well, first thing I’ve noticed is that I’ve stopped whining and complaining about working out. For the most part, I’m sticking to a schedule and not dreading it. I know and accept where my body, my weight, and my ability’s are right now, that doesn’t mean I have to accept that they need to remain there. “Start Where You Are” is not only the cover photo for my Facebook Group Page (Trifuzion Athletic Training, shameless plug there, I know) it is what I remind myself these days and probably the best piece of advice I can give to anyone looking to make improvements in their physical fitness.   When people say they can’t even run a mile, I tell them, I know, I used to be there, but the only way to get to that first mile is to start where you are. That might be a walk around the block (which is where I started) or it might be a combination of jog for four minutes and walk for one.  It’s simple advice and I’m sure we’ve heard it a million times, but it’s super-effective once we sincerely embrace it as truth.  Evaluating our own selves, where we are today and most importantly not comparing ourselves to others, is the place to start.  There are infinite qualities and talents that distinguish us from one another, but isn’t that the beauty of life?  Our own unique personalities and quirks make us so much more interesting than if we all tried to fit into perfect little molds or worse yet, mirrors of eachother.  So the growth here is that I’m going to worry less about others and their progress and focus more on walking to the beat of my own drummer.  I have goals for my body and if it be God’s will, I’ll reach them.

But really though, what am I learning with this new (ad)venture?  Thanks to my rebellious gray matter I’m definitely learning patience.  I’m learning compassion and kindness for my own body.  Respect goes along with that, my body serves me every single day, it’s time I showed it some due respect.   Determination, I’m committed to seeing my goals as a personal trainer through, there’s nothing wrong with changing our minds but I want to make sure I’ve given it a fair shot.  Accepting these awesome life-changing things takes time, so I’m learning to take it all in.  I want to enjoy the journey, cliché, I know, but my friend Dave says, “clichés become cliché for a reason”.  I want to be mindful of every step along the way, this time will pass and the next stage of this process will begin but this part where everything is new and fresh will never be available again, at least not in the same light.  Most importantly, above all, I want to make a difference in people’s lives.  I want to be the best personal athletic trainer they’ve ever met or even heard about.   I know I can’t cure people, I can’t solve every problem they have, but I do know that when it comes to their health and their bodies, I want to give them 110% of my commitment to their better health.  I’ve experienced tremendous struggle with my weight my entire life, I’ve watched others succeed where I’ve wrongly perceived I had failed, and have allowed the meanest, most hurtful thoughts about my own self that I would have never thought about anyone else.  The day has come that it all has to stop.  We are who we are right now but there are parts of us that don’t need to stay that way.

Our insides, that’s a whole other blog, our insides are incredibly perfect.

Swim, Bike, Run, Breathe, Live and Love ~ Vicky