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Posts Tagged ‘Team in Training’

Saturday morning arrived and rather than feeling too tired to get up at 5:30 am, I was actually energized.  Kelly had emailed me the day before to make sure I was going to be at the Mentor-led training at the Baylands Park Trail in Mt. View/Palo Alto.

adbebrds1 The Baylands Park Trail is located along the southern part of the San Francisco Bay.  Given that it’s right on the water, it was fairly windy and cold, but it was also really lovely.  The weather on Saturday was overcast, but perfect for walking.

Kelly arrived and handed me a gift bag.  I was so touched, but I didn’t open it yet, since we were about to start the walk.  I thanked her so much, and she said it was just a little something that she picked up because she was thinking of me.

Kelly and I began walking, and right away, she started talking about how she had one mode when she walked or ran – slow.  This was really difficult for me to believe, especially considering the fact that she is incredibly fit.  She participates in marathons and triathlons, and her figure is to die for.  She said that when she started training with TNT, she also experienced the feeling of being the last one.  She said that she was always beating herself up for it, and it wasn’t until she finished the San Diego Rock n’ Roll Marathon that things finally “clicked” for her.  She said the feeling she got when she crossed that finish line was like nothing she had every experienced.  She wished she wouldn’t have been so hard on herself during the training, because at the moment she reached the finish line, all that mattered was that she had completed it, not how quickly she did it.  She said that she felt like she had missed out on so much of the journey of the training, because she was concentrating on the wrong things. Now she accepts that she’s going to be the slow one, and she tries not to let the “demons” of negative self-talk stand in the way of her accomplishing her goals.  And then she said that she saw so much of herself in me.

Everything she said really hit home with me.  I have been concentrating on the fact that I’m so slow rather than in all that I’ve accomplished.  Here we were, up at 7am on a Saturday morning, about to walk for 2 hours.  That in itself was an accomplishment.  I knew that she was right and that I would be sorry if I let my competitiveness get in the way of experiencing the journey of this TNT experience.

As we continued, my legs began to cramp in the calves, and Kelly said we should stop and stretch.  She said that she also has really inflexible muscles, and that she can’t even touch her toes.  She bent down to show me, and she couldn’t.  I was shocked!  I can touch my toes, and I probably way 150 pounds more than she does.  It just goes to show that everyone has their own physical limitations.

We continued along the path at a pace of about a 20-minute mile.  At mile 2 my right foot started going numb.  I can’t describe how uncomfortable and then painful this is.  It’s like when your feet “go to sleep,” with the tingling, etc., but as the numbness travels up my leg all the way to my hip, it gets really scary.  I untied my laces a bit to allow for the swelling, and that alleviated the numbness a bit, but not all the way.  The numbness moved to my left foot, and then I decided to undo my laces all the way.  But I didn’t stop.

We kept talking, and I realized how much Kelly and I have in common.  She was a history major, and want to become a high school teacher.  She asked if she could come and observe my classroom to complete the 30 hours required to enroll in the credential program, and I said of course.  I kept thinking about what a sacrifice she had made to come out and walk with me.  About how caring she was, and how she was such a special person for doing it.  She made me want to continue, through the pain, because I wanted to make sure that I didn’t let her down or make her feel like she had given up her morning for nothing.  It felt so great to finally be able to verbalize some of the things that I had been keeping inside, and I appreciated Kelly so much for allowing me to be vulnerable enough to share everything with her.

We kept walking the entire 2 hours, and completed over 6 miles.  At mile 4, the numbness went away, my leg muscles were warmed up, and I felt stronger than I did at the beginning.  I know I finished the walk faster than I began it.

At the end of the walk, I soon realized that completely undoing my laces might have helped with the numbness, but it was a dumb move in terms of blisters.  It was clear that I now had blisters on the bottom of each of my feet, right at the balls of the feet.  Still, the feeling of accomplishment I felt after just having walked 6 miles was incredible.  6 miles = a 10K!!!!! And I felt like Kelly had been part life coach, part new friend out on that trail with me.

Later when I got home, I opened the gift bag she gave me and found a hand-held water bottle/fuel pouch.  Kelly had mentioned that she liked using the hand-held models better, because running with the fuel belt around her waist was annoying to her.  I had no idea at the time that she had bought one for me.  How sweet was that?  Then I discovered something even more special in the bag – it was a card that touched me so much it made me cry.

The outside of  the card from Kelly

The outside of the card from Kelly

The inside of Kelly's card

The inside of Kelly's card

Reading that card made me so overwhelmed.  To know that someone who I barely knew took the time to find the perfect card was incredible.  It really helped me feel the boost I needed to continue on with this training. Plus it was a great reminder that I have to refocus my thoughts and try to stop thinking about how slow I am and concentrate instead on how much I have accomplished.

img_01532 The card now has a prominent place on my refrigerator.

I may be slow, but I’m also mighty!

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It was a normal Wednesday evening.  I was at the track at a local community college for the TNT track practice.  I was looking forward to getting in a good workout, and had vowed, once again, that I was going to try to find time in my busy schedule to do the OYO workouts.  I’d been really bad about going on my own (OYO) to walk, mostly because the walking became painful/uncomfortable very quickly.  I had also spent the weekend “regrouping” after feeling down about my weightloss, TNT practice, and life in general.

I was raring to go, warmed up by going around the track 3 times (3/4 of a mile) with virtually no pain, and just joined the group to listen to the coach’s “game plan” for the evening.  She mentioned that tonight she had “fun” idea.  We’d be competing in relay races.

What?  Ugh.  This was probably the worst thing I could’ve heard.  I’m the slowest one on the team, and I knew that any relay group would suffer if I was part of their team.  This brought up all those feelings of not being good enough that I’ve been feeling lately in regards to my training.

And at that point, I decided to give up.  I wasn’t even going to try.  I felt empowered in a way, deciding not to put myself through something that would be humiliating.  I knew that no one else on the team would make me feel bad.  No, I could do that all by myself, and I didn’t want to go through that.

As everyone else on the team listened on to the coach’s directions, I went up to our Team Manager, Kelly, whom I’ve always felt an instant connection with.  I think it’s her open, friendly personality and the fact that she’s always the first one to praise someone for being a “rockstar” when it comes to fundraising.  No matter how many feelings of failure I’ve had in regards to my physical abilities, Kelly has always made me feel wonderful in terms of my fundraising.

So, I walked up to Kelly and told her I was going home because I had a terrible headache.  (This was true, I had been fighting a headache all day).  She asked me if I was doing alright, and then the floodgates opened.  Tears filled my eyes and I rambled on about how hard I was finding the practices, how I hated being the last person to finish, how difficult it had been for me to find a fuel belt that fit, and how overwhelmed I felt.  She said that TNT wasn’t competitive, and that no one was paying attention to when I was finishing.  She said that she’s been to the Saturday walks, and she knows that I’m not the last person finishing.  I told her that while I’m sure that was true, I still felt like I was, and that it was really affecting me.  She asked me what she could do to help, and I told her I didn’t know.  Then she said, “you know what, from now on, I’ll walk with you.”  I asked if this was ok, since I’m sure she had other duties, and she said she’d love to.  Then she looked in my eyes and said, “you know, it’s difficult for me to see someone like you, someone so strong, feel as if she can’t do this.  You have no idea of what you’re capable of.”  It made me feel better, but it also made me get really emotional.

As I walked off the track, I was fully crying, both from the emotional release of telling someone how I was feeling and knowing that someone cared enough to walk with me.  I was so grateful, because part of the problem with being the last one walking on the Saturday walks is that there is no one around me at all.  I’m left completely alone with myself, in pain, and feeling like I can’t do this.  Walking along with someone would definitely help take my mind off everything.

And for once, I left the track practice looking forward to the walk on Saturday.

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Regular readers may have noticed something different on this blog recently.  Specifically, a lack of my usual blog posts.  In January and February I was blogging almost everyday, doing really well on WW, and feeling great in general.  Lately life is stressful, my schedule is packed, and I’ve been totally slacking on many of my responsibilities, including my weight loss goals.

I could give tons of excuses (explanations) about why this has happened, but that’s not really my style.  I’ve explained a few things in the last couple of posts – an extra class I’m teaching, TNT training, etc., but all of that is just life getting busy.  I have to be able to stick with WW, exercise, and all of my other obligations even when life is hectic and crazy.

After all, I look at my sister, LC, who has a really busy life and is still able to stick to her weight loss goals.  She’s a social worker, so stress and crises are daily realities for her profession.  LC is also a mother of two adorable little girls (6 and 21 months) and a wife.  She has an entire household to run yet still manages to make it to her weekly WW meetings, works out, and goes to yoga for a bit of “me time.”  Her day starts at 5:45am and doesn’t end until after 9pm, with hardly any down time for herself.  I really don’t know how she does it.

So every time I start feeling overwhelmed and sorry for myself because of how busy I am, I need to remind myself that I only have myself to think about.  I don’t have a husband and two little girls who need me.  I don’t have to worry about anyone but myself, yet lately I can’t even seem to do that.

Case in point – I was supposed to go to a TNT training this morning.  8 miles.  I was dreading it because I haven’t been doing my OYO (on your own) trainings at all, and there was no way I was ready for the 8 mile walk today. Plus, we were supposed to wear our fuel belts, but I couldn’t find one that fit.   I was getting very upset with myself this morning for once again not going to a Saturday training (it’s so hard to wake up at 5:45am on a Saturday, I can’t even tell you), but at the same time, I told myself that I needed to take this weekend and really get myself back on track.

I’ve allowed myself to get into this really bad place lately.  Money problems caused me to be delinquent on some of my bills (I’ve now caught up), my house is a mess because I haven’t had the energy to clean it, my weight loss is non-existent because I haven’t gone to a WW meeting in weeks and I have stopped counting points, and I can’t seem to get myself to the gym to walk for my TNT trainings.  (I have been going to the Wednesday night track practices, but going once a week is not going to get me to where I need to be in order to complete a half marathon).  More than once lately I’ve thought about dropping out of the TNT program all together because it’s just so hard. I think about all my friends and family who have told me that I’m inspiring, or that “I rock,” because I’m training for the half marathon and I feel like a sham.

But then I think about all those people who have donated to my fundraising efforts and I know I can’t let them down.    I think about what I wrote on my fundraising page and I know that it’s true.  I want to do this in memory of my uncle.  I want to do this because it’s for such a good cause.  And most of all, I want to do this because it’s one of the biggest challenges I’ve ever attempted, physically.

So rather than just sit here and write about how sorry I’m feeling for myself, I am vowing to get over it.  I am going to spend today cleaning the house so that I feel human again at home.  I’m going to return the old fuel belt and find one that fits if it kills me.  I’m going to go to the gym and walk for an hour and a half, because I have to start in on these OYO trainings, plus exercise really does make me feel better. I’m going to go to the grocery store and buy loads of healthy food, because I always feel better when I’m eating good food. And then I’m going to work on a plan to fit daily exercise/training into my new, more hectic schedule.

I’ll check in again later tonight or early tomorrow with my progress.  I’m determined to stop this awful pattern and get back on track with everything in my life.  I have to.

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2b-wachusettI hate fuel belts!

You may be reading this thinking that a piece of equipment designed to help you stay hydrated is hardly something to be so passionately against, but let me explain.

My TNT coach told us that we needed to buy a fuel belt by the beginning of this month, because we’d be doing long distance training beginning this morning (8 miles). Fuel belts are designed to hold water bottles and nutrition bars so that when you’re on a long distance walk/run, you can replace the nutrients your body has lost.  We were supposed to find on that could hold nutrition bars and water supplements (to replace electrolytes, etc.).  Logically, I guess they make sense, but let me just say that I hate “fanny packs,” which is exactly what these fuel belts remind me of.  I don’t want to wear one!

But, being the “good student” I am, I went to Sports Basement (which is a sporting goods store that is known to have equipment at cheaper prices) yesterday in search of a fuel belt that would fit.  I tried on the XL, but it was really tight.  I asked the salesgirl if they had any in a larger size and she said they didn’t.  This one only went up to 36 inches, which seems fairly small, considering they were unisex sizes.  I guess the people who make these fuel belts think that all long distance athletes are fit and trim.  I mean, I know that I’m a plus-sized girl, but my waist is actually one of my smaller features, so if I can’t find one that fits, I wonder about some of the other people who carry most of their weight around their stomachs.  But I digress.

I bought the fuel belt thinking that it might fit over a t-shirt (I had a sweatshirt on when I tried it on).  I also bought some Nuun hydration tablets, a sports bra, 2 pairs of running socks, some Body Glide, and a long-sleeved fitness shirt that is made of moisture-wicking fabric.  I spent way more than I expected, but I wanted to make sure to have all of the necessary “equipment” so that I would be prepared for the long walk.

I waited until later last night to try on the fuel belt with a t-shirt, only to discover that it was really, really tight, even over my thinnest t-shirt.   Plus, it didn’t really have enough room to hold the Luna bar I was supposed to bring with me.  To say this was frustrating is putting it mildly.

So today I’m in search of a fuel belt that will really fit me, and one that will hold everything I need it to.  I’m going to return the other one to Sports Basement and hit up REI in the hope that I can find a larger one there.

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Update: 4.7.09

I went to REI and was completely overwhelmed as soon as I walked into the store – their aisles are stacked to the gills with so much stuff!  I felt way out of my league, but then found a really nice salesperson who led me right to the “hydration waistpacks.”

After trying on about 5 or 6 with no luck (all too tight), I was beginning to lose hope.  Was I really THAT fat?  I can’t believe how hard it is to find endurance event equipment in plus sizing.  Do they really think that plus-sized people don’t partake in these sorts of events?  I wish someone would make a line of products specially designed for plus-sized people; I see a huge market for these items.

Finally, after almost abandoning hope I found it – the perfect fuel belt!  Not only was it plenty big (I have lots of room to spare!), it will hold my iPhone and my nutrition bars, plus it came with a larger bottle (16 oz), rather than two smaller ones.  AND, it’s light blue, so it matches my running shoes, not that that matters, but it sure is a nice bonus, after all of this. Thank you, Ultimate Direction, for making a hydration belt that fits a larger sized person!

11_photo3_large_1226685310

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I’m so sorry that I’ve neglected this blog lately.  As I mentioned last week, my schedule has suddenly gotten really busy, and I’ve been feeling like I barely have any time to do anything anymore. 

Of course, that’s being a bit overly dramatic, but I do feel like I have to figure out a way to get a handle on this new, crazier schedule. 

During the week, I don’t get home until around 6pm, which makes for a really long day.  I’ m so tired that I am not at all motivated to go workout most evenings.  I barely feel motivated enough to make dinner, and it’s been nice that I have quite a few recipes that I made ahead and put in the freezer. (One more thing for my growing to-do list is to update my “Bella Cooks” link with all of the new recipes I’ve been trying out). 

The weekends seem to go by in a flash, and because I’m not able to sleep in on either day (TNT trainings on Saturday begin at 7am, WW meetings start at 9am on Sunday), I feel pretty exhausted. 

I actually think that the key for me to feeling better and dealing more productively with this new schedule is to get enough sleep during the week.  As I’ve written many times before, I’m a night owl by nature, but I really need to try to get to bed by 9:30 or 10pm so that I can wake up early and work out.  I know that I’m not going to be in the mood to work out after I get home at 6pm, so if I’m going to keep up with my TNT trainings, it’s going to have to happen in the morning.  Plus, if I’m more well rested during the week, I know I’ll have more energy on the weekends, so I  don’t spend half the time in a zombie-like mode. 

I keep reminding myself that this extra class is only for a short while and the money will be really worth it in the summer when it’s time to get a new car.  Until then, I just have to adjust.

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Just a quick check-in for me today.  I don’t really have much to update you on, since I haven’t gone to WW for the past two weeks because of other events going on.  I know in theory I could go on a different day, but my schedule is so hectic that Sundays are almost the only day I can make it.  Plus, I guess I needed a bit of a break. 

In other news, today is the first day of an extra “summer school after school” class that I’m going to start to teach.  It’s aimed at seniors who need English to  graduate.  I’m actually looking forward to it because the curriculum I developed is all about real-world information, non-fiction articles, and rhetoric.  It should be fun to teach, and the kids should be really motivated (pass or don’t graduate!).  I designed it to be Tues, Wed, Thurs from 4pm-5:30pm, which means my schedule on these days is now even more impacted.  The good thing?  I’m getting $2900 (before taxes), which will help me with a down payment for my “new” car when my lease is up this August.

I’m still going strong on my TNT trainings and have even started on my OYO (on your own) walks (finally!!).  I’m mad at myself for forgetting my sneakers today, because I could’ve taken a good walk during the 2 hours between the end of school and the beginning of my new class.  Ah well, maybe on Thursday. 

Last night I made this delicious Mushroom Casserole that SweetiePie posted on her blog the other day.  I changed it slightly by adding crimini mushrooms instead of button, but other than that I stuck to her recipe. I would’ve added a bit more of a kick by adding some cayanne pepper, but that’s just me, I’ve been into spicy food lately.   I’d definitely recommend it, because it’s GOOD, and really easy.   It was  definitely perfect for  lunch or a light dinner.  It makes 6 hearty servings, so you’ll  have plenty of leftovers for lunch.  Yum!

I hope all of you are doing really well and have a marvelous week!

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The other night when I was at the TNT track training, I asked my mentor if I could use my iPod during the long trainings on Saturday.  I’m not sure why I even asked except for the fact that no one ever uses one.  She suprised me when she said “no.”  She said that the reason was because you can’t use iPods during the events because they’re a liability.

What?  I don’t understand that.  How is using a music player a liability?  I mean, it’s a closed course, so there aren’t cars zooming by.  Maybe because you can’t hear people saying “on your left?”  ???  If anyone knows why this is, I’d love to hear it.

The reason I bring this up is that I’ve noticed that I can go so much father and push myself a bit faster when I’m listening to music.  I love using my iPod when I’m working out, but it seems like it’s a necessity for me when I’m walking because fitness walking is so much more of a challenge for me.  I use songs as my reward a lot of the time.  For example, I’ll buy some new workout songs if I’ve worked out consistently for a certain number of days per week, etc.

Today I was reading through the most current issue of Women’s Health Magazine and one of the mini articles said that a study conducted at Brunel University found that listening to music while running increased not only speed but also endurance.  Intersting, but not surprising.  If you click this link, it will take you to a playlist that WH has made.  Some of the songs are good ones, others meh.  But they also have a link to other playlists that athletes and readers have uploaded.  Kinda cool.  I’m always on the lookout for some good workout tunes, and I did get a few good ideas.

One thing I have noticed is that when I’m doing my TNT trainings (both at the track on Wednesdays and Saturdays on the trails) I get a lot more emotional than I ever do when I’m using my iPod.  I’ve come close to full-on crying each and every time.  Mostly because I start getting discouraged about where I am in comparison to the rest of the team (at the end, with people passing me).  I have to do a lot of positive self talk and give myself a kick in the butt just to get past the point of tears.  I think it’s because my mind isn’t concentrating on the lyrics or the music, and just has time to think.  I’m operating “in the moment” and being fully conscious of my surroundings.  I guess I should use this as a positive thing – as a way for me to work out stress or frustrations, or whatever.  To tell myself how proud I am of all that I’m accomplishing in a relatively short amount of time.  Maybe there is a method to this madness about not being able to use iPods after all.  Hmmm….

One thing I’m going to do this Saturday on the 6 mile walk (yes, 6 MILES!! I’m very scared of that number, but I know I’ll do it) is to remind myself that while I may not be the fastest person on the team, I am one of the best in terms of fundraising.  In the three weeks that I’ve had my fundraising page active, I have already raised over half of the minimum required.  I was so concerned when I started all of this that I wouldn’t be able to raise the money, but now I think I’m going to be ok on that front, at least I hope so.  I have some truly generous people in my life, including many of you who read this blog, and I am so thankful. It still amazes me that people who have never met me in person are willing to contribute to my goal.  Thank you so much Cammy, Cathroo, Lisa K. and Rev. Sheila. Ok, I know some of you are reading that and wondering why the heck I have to be so competitive.  I don’t know why, but I wouldn’t change my competitive streak for anything in the world – it’s what pushes me to strive farther, push harder, and achieve my goals.  Anyway, I think focusing on the positive, in this case my rockstar ability to fundraise (if I do say so myself), will be really good for me.

So, what are your thoughts about using an iPod during endurance events?  Should they be allowed?  Why or why not?

I <3 my iPod!!!!

I <3 my iPod during workouts!!!!

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