Tuesday, May 10, 2011

It’s all about the pain. . . the quotable version

This morning at the gym I was reminded of a shirt my Awesome Hubby wears on occasion.

The first time I saw it, I chuckled because of the truth of it. He usually manages to wear it at a time when I’m in the throws of serious muscle soreness (which, if anyone’s done CrossFit style workouts for any amount of time, realizes that it’s more normal than not) and I have to remind myself that my inability to walk up stairs or lift my arms to brush my teeth (the person who invented the electric toothbrush? A saint!) is just my body’s way of dealing with the resistance and motions I put it through, and the muscles are just repairing themselves to they can be stronger and better able to deal with the same thing next time.

This morning at the gym, again dealing with sore muscles, again lifting heavy things and doing all sorts of other silliness (burpees – I have no love in my heart for you) that will make me more sore tomorrow, I was struck by the even deeper truth of the saying because it's something that's been on my mind lately. Not so much for me, though I'm at the point of getting frustrated that I still have the squishy middle, and my physique isn't where *I* think it should be. I mean really, I’ve been at this for /how/ long!?

I digress. I was reminded of what a beautiful, talented friend of mine has voiced to me several times recently: that's she's SO afraid that all the weight she's lost will come back. I’ve come across the same fear and frustration a lot lately, the continual struggle, the weariness, the frustration, the fear.

My first thought: Then you did it wrong the first time. I mean, if you put in the time to develop new habits and make the changes to your lifestyle that support the lower weight and activity level, and you didn't do any sort of extreme effort that's impossible to sustain long term, there's not really any reason for you to re-gain... right?

But that's only part of it, isn't it?

Yes, there’s the fear part - and having a little bit of that can be good to keep you focused on the actions you need to take - but really, it all begins and ends with pain.

“We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons.”
Jim Rohn

Oooh, that “D” word… That’s /really/ it, isn’t it? We don’t want the pain of discipline, or change. We like things the way they are. Even if we /don’t/ like things the way they are, when we decide that there’s need for change, the first thing we do is… rebel.

Wait, what? The first thing we do should be act, right? I mean we want to change so we act!

Not so. Remember my Inner Princesses, Veruca & Stevie? Yeah, this is when I really became aware of them – when I decided to take action to change, do develop some _discipline_ in my life.

Whoooaaaaa Nelly did they act up because, after all, discipline means punishment and restriction and the inner kiddos do NOT like that!
dis·ci·pline [dis-uh-plin]
1. training to act in accordance with rules; drill: military discipline.
2. activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill; training: A daily stint at the typewriter is excellent discipline for a writer.
3. punishment inflicted by way of correction and training.

Wait... discipline doesn’t /automatically/ mean punishment? Go fig!

But that’s what we think, right? I mean, the only reason to change is because we are bad and need to be punished, to implement super restrictive (Eat only celery! Live on $5 a week! Do marathon cleaning sessions!) and deprivation (No shopping! No chocolate! No fun!) behaviours that only set us up for failure so we can continue to beat ourselves up and realize that we were meant to stay the way we so there. *flop* We take on the role of both the bratty, rebellious child and overbearing, condemning parent.

So… How’s that been workin’ for ya?

I think it’s time to embrace the training/activity/improving skill part of the definition rather than the punishment portion.

It’d mean that instead of being condemning, we need to start being compassionate. Instead of being rebellious, we have to be open.

But that’s hard, isn’t it? It’s so easy to be hard on ourselves, it’s SO easy to find fault and lay the blame for our woes outside of ourselves rather than looking in the mirror. Unless, of course, you’re me, then you take the blame for all the worlds’ (including your own) problems and put them squarely on your shoulders. Yeah, that’s fun.

Here’s the thing that most people don’t want to hear: It’s painful to change. That’s why so many people stay in bad situations, get further in debt, health continues to deteriorate.

But it can be equally painful to stay the same.

You have to make a choice

You can choose to stay the same, or you can choose to change. There is going to be emotional wear and tear no matter what, because below the surface we all have emotional stuff that needs to be dealt with. Holding the door closed on the closet that hold our skeletons - THAT is tiring. Trust me. Been there, have the therapy bills to prove it. It’s painful to face it, but if you do, it feels like a huge physical weight has been lifted from you. When you don’t, that weight keeps bearing down on you, threatening to crush you.

"The secret of joy is the mastery of pain." - Anaïs Nin

It’s uncomfortable, it’s not fun, but in the end, it’s worth it… so you can move on to the next /thing/.

“If we're growing, we're always going to be out of our comfort zone.” John Maxwell

I know! Such the cheery ray of sunshine today, aren’t I?

But there’s a reason for it. It goes back to the fear of gaining it back, of going deeper into debt, and why I’m not so worried. It also goes back to the question I’ve been asked several times that I’ve struggle to answer: What was the turning point for me? How did I stop spinning my wheels and finally find traction?

It was the day that I realized that it’s not about the weight, it’s not about the food, and it’s not about the exercise. It’s about the thing was keeping me stuck where I was – and that thing was me.

"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." - Anaïs Nin

The day that I realized that I had to be accountable to myself, to embrace the pain of discipline today rather than live with the pain of regret forever, to look myself in the eye in the mirror and clear out the bad so I could get to the good stuff, /that/ was the turning point. I realized that every struggle had a purpose and the faster I figured that out; the faster I could get through it and reap the benefits. I learned that every time I encountered resistance, not matter if I was pushed back or pushed through, it made me stronger the next time.

“Being fat (or in debt, or surrounded by clutter, or being in a difficult situation) is hard. Losing weight (getting out of debt, clearing out the emotional and physical clutter, making a change in your life) is hard. Chose Your HARD!” - Unkown

"I choose to know the truth about myself no matter how beautiful it is." - UNKNOWN

I made my choice… how about you?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

I Am a Warrior! (Race recap :)

Now that the dust has settled, and the mud has (mostly) been washed off, time to sit back and reflect on yet another goal that I put a lot of hard work into and achieved.

And all in all... I kinda kicked butt. :)

I know it was my big 'secret' that I sprang on folks shortly before the event, mainly because I had serious doubts that I'd actually carry through with it. Yeah, I'd paid the hefty race fee and had been 'training' for it, but between some stress and health issues and a bit of wavering on other folks part, I hated to make a big deal of something that fell through at the end.

Eh, live and learn... I can worry all I want, but if it's meant to happen, it'll happen... and happen it did... and of course there was learning to be done along the way.

My friend R & I drove up the night before and got a hotel room so we wouldn't have to do the mad scramble drive up at gawd awful early on Saturday morning. Since we were in the 9:30 am wave, we'd have to leave Tucson at 6, but just didn't want to deal with the potential variables that come along with having to travel 90 minutes to the site. The down side is neither of us slept well at all that night. It happens, you're in a strange place, different noises, a wee bit of excitement/anxiety all make it difficult to get a really restful sleep. Still, we're glad we stayed there.

As a bonus it was a Holiday Inn Express and they have breakfast! Normally I wouldn't eat much before hand, but considering the tummy actually grumbled at me, I gave in... There was 2.5 hours before the race so wasn't too worried, and if I'd wanted, I could have fed any sort of carb craving I'd wanted with the spread they had at the hotel - pancakes, cereal, cinnamon rolls, toast, muffins, etc... I opted for some toast with PB, bacon and some less than mediocre eggs.
(I really didn't think it was possible to mess up eggs... but yeah, they did... sooo happy they had lots of salsa, salt & pepper handy!) and got my caffiene fix as well, which was a good carrier for my protein drink.

We got on site, got our packets with the schwag (Cuz really, the only reason to do silly things like this is to get the schwag!

(Redhead Warrior Brigade :)

I have to say that packet pick up was super duper easy - I've only done a few events but this was really well organized. Kudos to them on that!

We checked our stuff in at the "Gear Check" and then... waited... did some people watching and totally loved all the folks that dressed up - it's something that I think is so cool and would love to do, but never come up with an idea in time. *sigh*... anywho, we watched the 9:00 wave take off, cheered them on... then we waited... and waited.

The morning seemed to fly by but the half hour wait between the first wave and ours seemed to take. for. e.v.e.r.!!!

Plus it was super sunny and starting to get a little toasty.

Finally it was time for us to queue up and... wait. Luckily they were committed to starting each wave on time and they were good to their word. At 9:30 on the dot, the horns blared, the flames shot up and we were off! All 500-ish of us.

As happens, there's a slow start, then bottle neck, then the pack starts to break up and give some breathing room.

Now, remember how I'd mentioned I'd been doing lots of training runs and workouts for this? Well, I'd done a bit more work than my friend, and while I had a personal goal to finish the course in under an hour (truth be told I was shooting for less than 45 min.) I was more committed to sticking with R through the whole thing.

We started strong, and R was a good sport at trying to keep up a good jogging pace with some walk breaks thrown in, we just couldn't sustain it past the first mile. It was hot, dry and dusty. After the first obstacle (Jump over a 5' wall, duck under barbed wire fence, repeat 4 times) we ended up walking the rest of the route and found our 'pack' of about 4-6 different folks that were all going the same pace, and we were all cheering each other on - it was awesome.

The 2nd obstacle was big dirt mounds that you sprint up then realize almost too late that it's straight down the other side... almost bit it there but didn't. *whew* Then we were climbing on cars and going through tires. Then 'climbing' down into the ravine... then we hit the couple that I was most leary of - the tall stuff... I have an issue with heights, but here I was faced with at least a 20' pyramid of hay bales to climb up and down - fine and dandy because it's solid, then, *gulp* the cargo net. That gave me some serious nervousness but there wasn't any rush and not a ton of folks around me so I just took my time, took some deep breaths and just did it.


After that, lots of the obstacles are a blur - was getting really hot and extra dry, and was getting to the point of just getting through it. We hit the water station which was fabu, then plowed on through the rest of the course where I met the 2 obstacles that I just didn't do - one was walking on beams that were set about 8' off the ground... I got part way up the first plank and had a vertigo moment... so I walked around it. The next was a 10-15' wall that you had to do a rope climb up then had foot holds/ladders on the other side. Arms weren't cooperating for that one either, so I walked around it. The awesome thing is that the event worker gave me a high five for trying.

The last two obstacles were the most fun - You jump over 2 fire pits (actual fire! I totally jumped 'em and didn't singe anything important. ::chest bump:: ;) and then you hit the mud pit right before crossing the finish line.

I thought I was home free! I figured it wouldn’t' be so bad... first step, in up to my knees... second step where'sthebottom*bloosh*. I think I got a big applause for embracing the
muddiness, others got harassed if they didn’t get in too deep... I had no choice so I went with it. :)

I had mud in places I'd rather not talk about... for. days! (Arizona has tons of clay, so that mud just doesn't want to let go...)

The bestest part, despite walking it and taking our time with the course, we finished in just under 1 hour according to my watch. I have no idea what my official chip time is yet... hasn't been posted, but I'm proud of our efforts and the fact that I don't feel totally wiped out after doing it.

After getting photos taken (will see about posting the muddiness when those are available) we squished over to get hosed down then collect our Warrior spoils.

Cuz it's about the bling, free beer, and food (ok, had to pay for the food but still).
(notice the super muddy socks that got tossed in the trash shortly afterwards.)

We sat around for a bit to listen to the band before deciding to pack it in and head home.

Luckily we had a change of clothes in the car and did my best beach towel quick change to not get dirt and mud everywhere and stashed the offending garments in the plastic bag. Everything got stashed outside to dry and to deal with later...

And this is the 2nd rinse!

Finally things came clean after a couple more rinses in the tub then the washer. YAY!

But some things just need to stay dirty. :)

All in all a good day was had, and I get to sport a spiffy hat any time I want to remember my accomplishments.

Not to mention some spiffy banged up shins to show off. :)


So you may be sitting there thinking *I* could /never/ do that! But I'm here to tell you that you CAN!! I have to say I was a little surprised that the course in general wasn't as hard as I expected it to be - everything was completely do-able and, as with other events I've done, everyone that participates is very encouraging and helpful.

If you think this is something you might want to do, or you're already signed up, here's a couple of things that will make life easier for you:

1) bring your own water. I brought a camelback type thing and it saved me! There was only 1 water station for the entire course. While it was well run, it was 3.5 miles and hot! My camelback went through the wash just fine and even if it hadn't, it was better than being super dehydrated along the way.

2) bring your extra shoes & socks at a minimum with you and check them at the gear check. You will be sooo happy you did. Our site was doing a collection of shoes for donation after the event, so you can ditch your old, mud caked shoes and feel good about it. Stash some extra water in your bag as well.

3) bring a BIG thing of water for washing off at the car. Yes they have a hose down area, but it can't get everything... and

4) bring a towel. Any good hitchhiking warrior has their own towel. :)

There you have it... now I'm glad that I'm feeling up to pursuing the next latest and greatest goal I have set before me.

To steal a quote: What have you done that makes YOU feel proud?!