Monday, July 30, 2012
I must confess, I'm one of the millions of people who LOVE the Olympics. I love the pageantry. I love the competition. I love the hold your breath moments that are inevitable. Just experienced one. Would Brenden Hansen finally beat Kosuke Kitajima? He did. A nation held it's breath and it's hero won. Every nation has it's heroes and some come home undecorated, but a hero none the less.
It is fun watching people who have trained their entire lives for greatness. They are the sparkling examples of what a body can accomplish. These people are some of the most talented, hardest working and fittest people the entire world has to offer. I will never be one of them. And that's okay, because I can still learn lessons from them.
Phelps and Lochte...It all boiled down to who wanted it more. As the games unfold we might see the flame being lit under Phelps again and might see more typical performances from him. But, four years ago Lochte set a goal. He set a goal and I'm sure there were people who would say "don't bother, you are getting "old" and Phelps is the best there is, don't even try". He still tried. He trained hard for the entire 4 year interim and his drive and fire paid off in the best way imaginable. It all boils down to how much you want it.
What do I want? What dreams and goals do I want more than anything else the world has to offer? What will I give up for 4 days, or 4 months, or 4 years, or more to accomplish a goal.
Brenden Hansen....lost to a boy from Japan, Kosuke Kitajima and heard his screams of victory in his sleep. The loss haunted him. He gave up swimming and moved on to triathlons, but the loss haunted him. He determined he wouldn't let his past get the better of him and started training for an Olympic comeback. He didn't get gold, but he did get bronze ahead of his nemesis.
What in my past is haunting me? What failures am I letting get the better of me? It is time to either move on and determine it is time for something new or to tackle them again and get the better of them this time. It doesn't matter how many times I lose to the scale as long as I stage a come back and get the better of it at some point, even if it takes years to do it.
Reaction is everything. My favorite athletes, irregardless of country of origin are those who look to the board, pause for a moment, a breath, a lifetime, and then react. The sigh, they cry, they kneel down, they stand and as their flag is raised they quietly sing. Reaction is everything . You can see on their faces the realization of years of work. You can see the gratitude for those who trained them and stood beside them through all the trials. You know that they know that they did their best and it was good enough.
Reaction is everything. Find joy in the small things. Find pleasure in the realization of goals. Find gratitude for those who supported the journey. No need to be overly dramatic, the reaction can match the level of accomplishment, but there is so much more to "finishing" than just a check mark on the calendar.
How much can you push? Watching the swimmers is one of the most dramatic examples of how much can you push. Later it'll be the track events, the runners. When winning is determined by hundredths of a second, by who has the longer reach or who simply never gave up, how hard you push makes a huge difference. How many Olympic champions who do not make it to the podium ask themselves "could I have given more"? I think that was the question I saw on Michael Phelps' face. Could I have done more?
Never end a day wondering if you could have done more. Do not go crazy, know your limits and abilities, life is a marathon not a sprint. But, if I am constantly going to bed thinking "I didn't do enough". I'd better get down to the bones of the matter and figure out what is holding me back from doing more. I don't want to be the one who isn't in the race because I held back.
Watching the men's cycling on Saturday I couldn't help but realize that someone would cross the line last. Someone who's name I would never know unless I went looking for it. Nobody was going to say on the evening news that Ioannis Tamouridis from Greece was the very last person to cross the finish line in the Men's Road Race and that five other riders came in over the time limit and didn't earn recognition for finishing and 29 others got the dreaded DNF. As I watched though I realized that last is not terrible. Ioannis Tamouridis rode his bike in the Olympics!! How many people can say that? He also rode well enough that he finished within the time limit. He also rode well enough that he crossed the line. What happened to the DNFs? Crash? Injury? Bike exploded? (Well, maybe not that, sure we would have heard about that.) Last is better than not being there at all.
I know, I've been last and I've DNFed in running events. I might have finished last, but I finished and I am on a list somewhere that someone can look up and see that I finished. I was there, at that race. I wasn't at home sitting on the sofa. Everyone at the Olympics is teaching us that last is not the worst you can do. Last is for people who are involved. Last is for someone who tried. Last is not for losers, it is for someone who still did their best. Same with DNF, nobody goes out planning to DNF, but at least they went out. They tried and they will probably try again. The loser did nothing.
There are going to be more lessons as the events unfold. More things to take home and put to use. More examples of what can be done, even by "normal" people.
I can push harder, I can let the past motivate me and not hold me back, I can want "it" more (whatever "it" might be), I can find more joy, I can find my victories and take joy and pride in them, I can be last and still see it as an accomplishment. I can be a champion in my own personal life and Olympics...I can do more, be more, live more and love more. Think I'll go have a bowl of Wheaties now ;).
Sunday, July 22, 2012
One mile. That's all I ran a week ago Saturday. One mile. Not much by many standards and the gold standard of fitness tests nation wide. A 16 minute pace is my goal for my real life summer challenge. Last Saturday was our mid-point test and my previous pace was 17:34 or something like that. It was SLOW and shin splints made it even slower. No shin splints this last time and I pushed HARD. I am a very conservative runner due to previous injuries and shin splints. I really don't push too hard most of the time and most people can walk faster than I run. But, last Saturday I PUSHED and came in just under 16 minutes. I met my goal several weeks ahead of schedule, now I just need to do it again on the final test day-lol. One short mile and I learned that I can do more and probably should be doing more.
I spent all last week pushing harder on my runs. My distance has dropped into the toilet recently and I spent last week building it back up. Running longer and staying out for a longer distance. Finally got down a route that comes in at just over 3.5 miles with the warm-up and cool-down distance included. I walked more than I wanted to but ran more than I was and it's felt wonderful to finally be putting the effort back into running. I'd gotten lackadaisical. One mile changed that.
One mile. It's such a weird distance. At times it seems so far and others it is nothing. A drop in a bucket. A very small portion of a very large world. One mile. Used to seem like a mile was HUGE, a major accomplishment, a goal realized. One mile. Three miles. Six miles. Thirteen miles. Miles I can name off in my sleep. Miles even my youngest can name as 5K, 10K and 13.1. She loves to play with the charms on my necklace, turning them backwards and then naming them. "5k". "10k". "13.1". "Runner girl". "Disneyland" (FYI-my first 5K was the Disneyland, hence the significance of that charm). My kids know one mile. They too once thought one mile was a long ways. Now when asking if they want to do a race I tell them "this is the long race, 1 mile." and they say "okay". They know one mile too and know they can do it.
One mile can be such a pain in the tuckus. Shin splints can make one mile miserable. A good song can make it fly by. One mile is a short conversation. One mile is one pit stop for the dog-lol. One mile flys by. One mile drags. It is so many different things.
One mile in the sun and heat sucks. One mile in the mountains is not enough.
Yesterday we revisited an old route we haven't done for a very long time. It is a beautiful route, for the most part. It is shady and hilly and pretty and fun. I loved going up and down the rolling hills. I loved the challenge of powering through to the top of a particularly challenging section and the joy of running down the other side. I got tired faster and didn't run the entire route, but ran more than I would have if we had run it at the beginning of the month. One mile is a self made amusement park, admission is free.
One mile is insipration. One mile is motivation. One mile is one mile. Because, when things are finally stripped down to their bare bones one mile is simply 5,280 feet, A mile is just 63360 inches. A mile is nothing more than 1760 yards. A mile is a measure of distance. Anything else I find in a mile is mine. It can't be measured. Type 1 mile into a convertion calculator and it won't come up with anything I think a mile is. It will only give you the statistics in this paragraph. A mile is a way of measuring how far you've gone and really, isn't that the most important thing about a mile? How far you've gone is the ultimate compliment you can pay 1 mile. I've come a long, long way. I've never tracked exactly how many miles I've run. I am too horrible at entering the data. That's okay....I have a better way of measuring my miles. To me how far I've gone can't be measured by emperical data alone. It's measured in emotions and memories and shoes and feelings and a pattern of ivy on a wall, or a shadow falling across the grass. A puppy running on it's too big feet and a smile on it's face. A mile is measured in sweat and triumph and dedication and personal glory that doesn't even register on the Olympic field, but is much more than a mile in my own heart.
One mile...who knew it could be so much...
Friday, July 13, 2012
Update 1: The Stick It to It Workout: On plan was to do it twice this week and do one round of my regular strength training workout. That went okay. For my real life challenge I have to do Strength Training three times a week (Saturday-Friday) to get full Strength points (3). I do strength on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I have not done strength today. Here's my other problem...I did not take into account doing our challenge mid-point test tomorrow, which involves some weights and a plank. I do NOT want to be totally weak for my test so I am NOT working strength today, at least not a BIG workout. I'll do it later tonight, when it cools down. I have the option to count my Jillian workout as cardio and strength so I might go with that, I might do a light strength avoiding the things I'll work tomorrow. So, the can workout went REALLY well, I even decided to do the circuit option on top of my regular cardio. I did Jillian first and then after the last circuit instead of following her cool-down went straight into the circuits from the can. I opted for the lite version this week, doing one rep of two sticks from each area. It's been mega hot and my energy levels at an epic low. Adapted to my needs the workouts went great and I even faked my way through some burpees. You have to know that a) my balance is HORRIBLE b) my coordination worse and c) I've got a bit of gut that gets in the way of a burpee. So after nearly killing myself on the first one I created an adaptation to get me through the last 9. Once crouching instead of trying to kick both feet out and back I remained balanced on two hands and one foot while stretching the other foot back and out and pulling it back in. Odd, but it worked well enough. I am still loving my can :) and will continue to work back and forth between it and my regular strength (which is due for an overhaul not that I've been doing it six weeks, just to keep things fresh).
The Under Armour problem....I don't have time to bounce over there and link it, but if you have NO clue what I'm talking about find my blog on My Efforts to Change the World Fall Flat (or maybe it was Make a Difference...you'll find it). After quite a bit of jumping through hoops (tell this division, no tell this one, submit it like you invented something-OMGosh could you make it any harder). This is the response I FINALLY got that made sense:
"Thank you for taking the time to tell us about the need for expanded women's sizing. As you suspected, this is a common suggestion/idea that we hear from consumers like yourself.
We have brough the idea to the attention of the women's producty managers, and hopefully they are going to take action. What we hear frequently from women is that although they do not like it, they are forced to buy men's garments to get the fit they are looking for while they are striving towards the appropriate women's size.
The good news that we can report is that we are currently in development for larger sized bras. Our new ArmourBra, which is available online is purchased by band and cup size, which ensures as good a fit as possible.
If we have an update on expanded sizing, we will reach back out to you. Thanks for your support and loyalty to UA and best of luck"
Not bad, I'm satisfied I did my part. If I ever see larger sizes at UA I will give myself a pat on the back :).
Okay peeps, make it an awesome weekend, reports are that much of the country will be experiencing a slight break in the heat wave soon, hope this applies to you. Hope you make it a productive and wonderful weekend, if you can believe it July is almost half over!! And I just earned 5 extra credit points....100 more crunches (no problem that's as good as done) and I'll make it 10 extra credit. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like my sis is anywhere near taking a misstep so I can regain those 3 points I'm behind (really she just needs to miss two and then I'll "win" the week and get the third). I'm gonna hide her water bottle-lol. See ya later alligator :).
Thursday, July 12, 2012
I am barricaded inside my home hoping that the heat is not as predicted for today and we don't all simply melt away. I'm thinking we will be vegetarians for the rest of summer, at least, hoping to avoid turning on the oven unless absolutely necessary.
I live in Southern California, but not the beachy, warm during the day, then cold at night So Cal. I live in the desert. At least not way into the desert, sort of a mid-desert (lol). We've been hitting 105 or so the last several days and predicted to be right around there for today too. Now, before you go saying "but, it's a dry heat". Whatever. A) Hot is hot and B) it is muggier than all get out. It is raining, but not raining today. Those of you who know humidity know exactly what I mean. If you stand outside it definitely feels like it is drizzling, but you look at the ground and there is no evidence of the rain. Not fun. As long as we don't have thunder and lightening we'll be hitting the pool later (not private, a community pool that is for residents only and not too crowded if you go at the right time). We've gotten in the habit of going swimming around 1:00 for an hour and then coming back and everyone crashes in the coolest spot they can find. The kids, lucky kids, put on underwear and that's it-lol. We've turned into an almost nudist colony-lol. The second we are back in the house the kids ask "are we going anywhere" to determine the level of dress or undress they might indulge in.
Pretty much, I hate summer where I live. It is hot and miserable and yucky and I've always hated the heat anyways. I'd much rather be cold (to a point).
That all being said there is one aspect to summer that I LOVE. The amount of produce that is in season and available is staggering!!
A popular candy carries the tag line "Taste the Rainbow". Catchy and cute, but should have been grabbed by the produce industry long before the candy was invented! In my fridge, right now, are nectarines, green grapes, cherries, yellow grape tomatoes (off the vine from a friend), two huge dark green zucchini (also off the vine from the same friend) and strawberries. YUM. There is a veritable rainbow of food in my fridge! All fresh and all ready to be nibbled on when the heat makes us grumpy and hungry and we can't bear the thought of eating anything hot.
So, sparkies, keep cool, keep hydrated and enjoy your summer. Don't forget the sunscreen, wear a hat, stay inside when it is the hottest part of the day and workout early or late not during the heat of the day unless you are inside with some awesome air conditioning and don't forget to taste the rainbow to your heart's content as long as it is nature's candy and not the other kind!!
Update on my sizing crusade and the can workout coming soon.
Monday, July 09, 2012
Okay, this is one I've been wanting to post for awhile now, but things just wouldn't line up. A camera battery wasn't charge (neither of the two cameras we own), kids needed attention, house needed attention, the 4th kept us busy...anyways, FINALLY, I get to post about my birthday present.
We are still extremely poor so I didn't get much for my birthday. My kids made me presents and that was awesome. Youngest in particular, was very creative. She gave me a ring that came off a charm bracelet and is way to small for anyone to wear, a rock with FR (From R) written on one side and TM (To Mom) on the other, some pictures she drew and a pink pipe cleaner bracelet she made all by herself (she is almost 6). Middle child wrote me an awesome card addressed to Heather Reid-lol (umm, daughter, to you that would be MOM). My mom took us all (my sister and her daughter included) to see Brave. That was FUN!! Then when we were leaving we stopped by sis's car so she could give me her present.
A quick side note: If you have not yet signed up for and are actively using Pinterest, you are missing out on an awesome way to spend an afternoon :). I say this because a short time before my birthday my sister pinned this idea that I thought was kind of cool, to put Popsicle sticks with exercises on them into a cup and create your workout by pulling sticks from the cup. In the original pin there were two cups (green solo cups, I suggested they should be red to increase the party factor in working out) one to hold the sticks and one to put the discarded sticks into. Sounded fun, but when it comes to things like this I get brain freeze and wouldn't have known what to actually write on the sticks-lol. I vaguely suggested on my sister's pin that this would be a great birthday present. Vague in the way a smack up side the head is vague-lol.
This is what I got (sorry in advance for the pics, I waited until dark to take the pics, the lighting in this part of the house is horrible and I did what I could-including holding it up against the ceiling for contrast and to allow the flash to not totally wipe out the details and using the light from the computer screen to light the sticks-lol).
You can see she ditched the two plastic cups idea (she credits her husband with that idea, how cute and awesome he got involved in the project) and went for a cute metal pail picked up at the craft store and dolled up with a ribbon and some stickers (Super Star and "Go" and some little stars scattered around).
Tucked inside is a tall piece of paper, I'm just going to type out the whole thing for you in case you decide you want to copy this awesome idea.
Stick It to It Workouts!
Full Body Strength
5 sticks each of yellow, purple and green-2 sets
Upper Body Strength
All green sticks-2 sets, weight of choice
Lower Body Strength
All purple sticks-2 sets, can add resistance when preferred
All yellow sticks-2 sets
3-5 sticks of each color, starting with pink-2-5 sets
Short on Time?
2 sticks of each color, starting with pink-1-5 sets
So there you have HOW each workout works and lots of choices and no excuses to not do strength training...on to the sticks...(oh, one second, please ignore my nails, I let my almost 6 y.o. do my nails, they were really cute hours before I took these pics-orange with white polka dots, very summery-lol. What you are seeing in the pics is a 5 y.o. painting U.S. flags on my nails (her own idea btw.))
There is a sample of each stick. I did not photograph the yellow, they are a little on the light side and probably would look like a blank stick so I'll save you the eye strain trying to figure it out.
I have to confess the pink sticks kind of scare me a little-lol.
Here is what is in each color:
25 Butt Kicks (not too bad)
30 seconds Jumprope (if I had to ACTUALLY jumprope for 30 seconds I'd die, but I can manage the rope free imitation)
15 Mountain Climbers (eek)
25 Skaters (meh, do-able)
60 seconds jog (no prob)
25 High Knees (wait a sec, does that say 25?)
10 Burpees (throwing this one away (not really, but so tempted))
20 Jumping Jacks (kill me now-actually thanks to Jillian I can sort of manage 20 if there is less jump than jack)
Green: Upper Body
12 Hammer Curls
12 Chest Press
12 Triceps Extensions (each side)
12 Biceps Curls (each side)
12 Front Shoulder Raises
12 Lateral Shoulder Raises
12 Standing Rows
12 Triceps Kickbacks
12 Chest Flys
U Pick Upper
Purple: Lower Body
Wall Sit-Max Time
15 Abductor (each side Standing, lying, w/wo resis.)
15 Adductor (each side Standing, lying, w/wo resis.)
20 Hamstring curls
15 Lunges (each side)
15 Calf Raises
20 Leg Extensions (each side)
15 Lateral Lunges (each side)
20 Sumo Squats (I got this one already and those KILL)
U Pick Lower
20 Reverse Crunches
20 Oblique Crunches (each side)
20 Dumbbell Side Bends (each side)
20 Back Extensions
So, there you have it, everything you need to go create your own Stick It to It Workout!! Go get your popsicle sticks and markers and get busy already!!
I hate to admit I've only used it once and now I've mixed them up from what I've done and haven't done...oh well. I had planned to do a second can workout on Friday, but it just didn't happen. The goal is to get in two of these this week and that will use nearly every stick. I have to confess, too, that I cheated, just a little, when I got two similar sticks I put one back and drew again-lol. You make up your own rules :).
This is so fun that I'm thinking I need a few blanks for each area so that when I find a new move that is particularly effective or fun I can add it to the mix. I can attest, this is an AWESOME tool. You can be as fancy or simple as you want and the exercise demos here on Spark contain most of these moves. The down side, the interface between the demos and the new tracker sucks so you can't figure it out while in the tracker. But, if you want to try something different on your sticks there are LOTS of moves you can choose from listed here on Spark (should have thought of that myself earlier, huh!). Anything you don't know how to do you can find through google (it's on ehow or somewhere on the web-lol).
Love my can!!
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