Category Archives: motivation

The hard part

It’s hard to get out the door.
It’s hard to warm up in cold air, when my breath still hangs in front of me.
It’s hard to get moving, thinking about how badly I’d like to be inside.
It’s hard to keep pace and keep going.
It’s hard to keep from sprinting to the end so I can just be done.
It’s hard to keep my form sometimes . . . which means back and hip pain most often.
It’s hard to push further than 5 miles.
It’s hard to climb the stairs after a run.
It’s hard to will myself to stretch out.
And it’s hard to remember to hydrate and do some core exercises.

But as hard as it can be, finish lines, milestone runs and knowing that today I did just a little bit more than yesterday becomes so incredibly worth it.

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The baggy

I'm not 135 -- not by a long shot -- but maybe someday I'll be closer to that. I think my happy weight is about 140.

I’m losing weight? I’m LOSING weight?! Whoa!

About a month ago, I started the Eat to Live plan with one of my best friends. The diet part was pretty straightforward — LOADS of vegetables, plenty of fruit, and healthy amounts and sources of protein, with limits on starches and grains and absolutely no meat/dairy. I gotta say, I was pretty stoked — I had energy, felt good, and I never once went hungry. But in the last couple of weeks, I’ve definitely strayed from the designated path — letting some half & half fall into my coffee, occasionally reaching for an Oreo as they’re left out on the counter at work . . . but this morning, my jeans were baggy. Are baggy.

These jeans, purchased just two months ago, fit then without being snug . . . but now? I’m having to hike them up when I stand. When I pull the top away from my hips, I can clearly see my undies. It feels awesome. But I haven’t stepped on a scale in weeks . . . I really have no idea what I’ve lost (if anything, I could be in that gaining muscle stage too) and I’m surprisingly okay with that . . .

I still eat a load of vegetables, take in healthy fats and proteins and I’m going to the gym because I enjoy the activities I’ve been doing (spin, climbing, running, yoga) — not because I feel obligated to do so. I haven’t hit the weights as much (okay, haven’t hit them at all), but if climbing isn’t strength training, I don’t know what is. Maybe I’ll do weights tonight . . . for kicks. 😉

Anyway . . . I feel healthy, I feel good about myself and my body, and it’s starting to show on the outside, too . . . which is really the icing on the cake, right? 🙂

Happy Friday!

Climb on.

 

Don't bother asking me when I'll actually climb outdoors. Most days, I'm still working on getting myself to the gym.

 

I have a gym membership, but I don’t use it as often as I’d like. I seem to have found two great groups to join — a team of climbers who like to climb in the morning and a team that climbs in the evening, but I rarely get to the gym out of total insecurity.

Stupid, I know. Everyone has to start somewhere, right? But when you’re a rookie who pants at the top of a 5.6 (easy-to-medium difficulty) and your climbing buddy for the day is flying up a 5.11 (very hard), you feel a bit like a joke. Or at least, I do.

A couple of years ago, a careless mistake in a climbing gym (my mistake, no less) led to an accident — a 12-foot fall to the ground. I wasn’t properly clipped in and I fell hard. The fall knocked the wind out of me and left me with a couple of ripped fingers (I tried to grab the rope on the way down) and a twisted ankle. But mostly, it just left me shaken up. In a split second, my security was gone.

It’s the kind of thing that you just can’t even believe happened — frustrated with a route I was attempting to master, I unclipped myself to reevaluate my method. I stood back, worked out a new plan, and then went back to climb. I didn’t look. I didn’t see. I didn’t comprehend that my safety was at risk — that I had not properly clipped in and if I fell, nothing would stop me from plummeting to the crash-pad flooring, which is exactly what happened.

I picked myself up off the ground, gingerly put some weight on my hurt ankle to assess how badly I’d messed up and glanced at my fingers whose skin was opened up from the friction of the nylon rope. I caught my breath, got a sip of water and walked into the locker room, where I sat on the bench to process what had just happened.

And then, without even really thinking, I left the gym and I didn’t come back for over a week.

More than anything the experience was humbling — I saw just how quickly, easily my mistakes could take a fun experience and turn it into something that transformed me into a bundle of nerves. But my biggest mistake after the fall wasn’t that I beat myself up mentally (though I’m sure that didn’t help), it was that I didn’t immediately get back on the climbing wall.

When I did, I clipped myself into the auto-belay, took a deep breath and nervously grabbed the handhold. Then another. And another. My feet were probably 3 feet off of the ground — I’ve hopped off of counters higher than that. But I couldn’t shake the need to check my harness every .4 seconds. Clipped in? Good. Grab a hold. Clipped in? Good. Grab the next hold. But as I glanced down, I could actually feel the blood leaving my face. And then I put my foot on one hold lower, another hold lower, until I could step back down onto the ground. I was done after climbing 4 feet.

I tried climbing one more time that summer before deciding that I needed a break. My (relatively) fearless self became paralyzed by nerves and apprehension. Almost two years later, I joined a climbing gym in San Jose (actually, it’s in Sunnyvale, but whatever). I signed up determined to conquer whatever lingering fear was there — I’d been away from it for almost 2 years . . . that’s enough time to suck it up, right?

Well, I’m not there yet. I’m still incredibly nervous when I start climbing over my belay partner’s head. I still check my harness with almost every step up. And I still grip those handholds like my life depended on it — because when you’re climbing a 50-foot wall and you’ve had an accident before, you’re acutely aware that at such a greater height, your life could be dependent upon it (not to sound all dramatic, but it’s pretty true).

But in spite of all of my nerves and apprehension, I still love doing it. It exhilarates me and leaves me so proud of the accomplishment, even if it’s a lower-grade route.

For me, climbing has become more metaphorical than just a fun exercise, which is what it started off as. I started climbing when a dear, sweet friend‘s enthusiasm for the sport sparked a curiosity, an interest and eventually lit a flame for a new hobby I wanted to pursue.

Now, I’m learning how to fall back in love with the sport one foothold at a time as I’m working through releasing the fear and anxiety that come with climbing higher and higher. I guess the moral of the story is “Please don’t ever think you’re infallable . . . because you’re really not” “Always check. Always be careful. They don’t warn you about this stuff for no reason — especially when you’re taking on a hobby where safety truly matters.” (And the secondary moral would be, “Please bear with me — I’m still learning!”)

And I’ll get there — the grace of my climbing buddies and my determination to kick that anxiety to the curb will really help, I’m sure.

(And if you ever see me at the gym, hugs are always appreciated — they’re heart-healthy and have nerve-calming properties.)

Climbing? Climb on.

P.S. On a completely UNrelated topic . . . I came home to find one of my fish eating the other fish. I have a cannabal fish and I do not know how to process this (aside from being a bit grossed/freaked out.)

It’s good for my heart.

Red wine is good for your heart, remember? Okay, I just wanted an excuse to put in wine.

I ran a little over 3 miles tonight and walked for another mile and a half or so. After I got home, I logged my minutes on SparkPeople and poured myself a glass of chocolate soymilk (indulgently delicious!) and made a quick, tasty veggie wrap.

Training for a marathon is t-o-u-g-h. I’ve finally crossed the threshhold into the NFA runs (Not F#cking Around) — double digits, much foam rolling, and an increased panic about the impending race.

But as scary as some of these runs will be (next week? yeah, I’m running 11 miles) I really like how my body feels after a run — tired and weathered, but so much more alive. My chest is still a bit flushed (don’t ask me why, but I don’t actually blush — my face almost never turns red), my clothes are damp with sweat and my joints feel good, yet move just a little differently. And I know deep inside, my heart is beating stronger from the effort.

My heart beats for many things: my loved ones, the thrill of the next adventure, the causes I hold dear, and the feeling of being so much more aware and alive by getting outside and pounding some pavement.

As intimidating as my long runs are getting, it’s good for me to push harder. It’s good for me to keep pressing forward and challenging myself — to keep redefining my limits. Once upon a time, I never thought I could run more than a mile. Today, I’ve completed a marathon, two half marathons, and I will complete three more races that I know of (two full marathons, one half) in the next 12 months.

It’s good for me. It’s good for my heart to run, sweat, push harder every day.

What’s your favorite way to get out and sweat? What do you do to motivate yourself to keep going?

Choose that attitude!

So this is how I WANTED to respond. (Don't worry - I didn't.)

In a fleeting moment of insanity, I asked my friend, Jackie, to take on Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred as an August challenge – 30 days of pushing, grunting, and working hard and hoping for some noticeable results. For me, I’m hoping to set some good habits about being consistent with my strength training as I’m working on training for a marathon.

When I trained for the Big Sur International Marathon last year, I was inconsistent with my training and I almost never strength trained. It showed in my form, my overall shape and fitness level, and in the injuries I gave myself in the process.

This morning, a nosy know-it-all butted in as I told a friend about this challenge I’m taking on to tell me that I’m going to injure myself, that I shouldn’t exercise like that each day, that I’m doing more harm than good. Talk about putting a pin in my balloon! I was instantly put into a position of having to defend myself and my choices in how I plan on reaching my healthier lifestyle.

Even after the discussion was over, I still felt that bitter taste in my mouth – the one where you know you didn’t say something you know would have gotten your point across because you’re trying to be tactful and I really felt like I had a sour attitude for it.

So I elected to change my attitude.

Once upon a time in college, I read the Fish Philosophy and really thought about ‘choosing my attitude,’ so to speak. In a difficult situation, I could choose to gripe and whine about the circumstances, or I could choose to put a positive spin on things.

This morning, I’m putting that positive spin on things. Even though I’m exhausted from a late night and overslept my alarm, I choose to see that obviously, my body needed that extra rest (and I still made it to work on time, so no harm, no foul). In light of that tricky, sticky conversation, I choose not to be annoyed – it is motivating me to see this challenge through and prove to myself (and the know-it-all) that I can set good habits on my own and that I’m smart enough to listen to my body and stop when it hurts and keep going when I really just need to be tough.

So there you have it – I’m choosing my attitude.

Fake it ’til you make it.

Sometimes, you just gotta fake it. Really, really fake it. I fake happy, fake organized, fake ‘together’ until my everyday actions follow suit.

Today, I faked being energized at work. Granted, I needed a bit of caffeine to get me going (and to pick me up again around 1:30), but I didn’t sleep well last night, so I was happy to pretend like I had.

I faked wanting to run. I didn’t really want to run, but I read Caitlin’s recap of running 20 miles and I thought to myself, “I really have no excuse.” So I laced up my shoes and cranked out 4.93 miles in one hour. A 12:10/mile pace, but I’m happy with that. I know I’ll get better (if I can get down to 10:45/mile by October, I’ll be so thrilled).

Anyway . . . I faked it. I faked the enthusiasm for the run, decided on my running plan and just did it. And it was great. I feel incredibly accomplished, even if it is a much shorter run in the grand scheme of marathon training.

I faked it, I made it. And you can too. 🙂

Know yourself.

I’m challenging myself and pushing myself trying to train for a marathon in October. I keep trying to inspire myself, keep my motivation up and trust that I’ll do it right, but it dawned on me tonight . . . I don’t know if I really know that I can do this.

Now, before you jump in with the pep talk, let me explain . . . I don’t know if I know myself WELL enough to say that I can do this. I believe that I can, I certainly would like to think that I can, but I’m trying to run the entirety of the race this time . . . so can I do it?

Well, I really, really, really hope so.  I really, really, really want to. But in the mean time, I don’t KNOW that it will happen – I trust that it will.

A college professor of mine once said, “Sometimes, you have to jump and trust that there’s a net to catch you.” She was so incredibly right. So here I am, rather confused by my own over-cerebralization of things (I may or may not have made that word up). Here’s what I do know about myself, though . . .

– I have never met a vegetable I didn’t like

– I’m really good with kids

– I’m pretty funny

– Somedays, I’m even smart

– Inspiration comes easily, motivation and determination are more difficult

– I love being a vegetarian – I doubt I will ever eat meat again

– I still miss sushi, though

– I’ve started rock climbing again – it’s helping me get over a fear of heights stemming from a climbing accident

– My biggest flaw is that I quit before I get started

– I know I can find motivation and determination to get me to the finish line – as Nike says, “Just do it!”

There’s probably some other stuff I could mention, but I’ll table it here – after all, I am still learning.