T-11…Optimism

11 months. Ironman Louisville. What goes through a person’s mind…first time Ironman…at 11 months out? 

1. I’m about to enter the pain cave. 

2. 140.6 miles…dayummmm

3. I got this! 

4. 11 months is time enough 

5. There’s not enough time 

6. I got this! 

7. I get to run past the Churchill Downs 

8. I’m going to climb 5448 feet over 112 miles on my bike…then run a marathon. <gulp>

9. I hope the Ohio River isn’t full of literal crap 

10. I hope the Ohio River has a nice current to push me along for 2.4 miles. 

11. I’m wondering how fast I can back stroke

12. I’m also wondering if my kids will mind taking a present cut at Christmas so I can get all the triathlon paraphernalia to make me look cool 

13. Will I even look cool after spending an hour in the Ohio River?

14. I’m going to have to give up beer in order to get to my race weight

15. Is getting to my race weight all that? 

16. I’m strong. I’m healthy. I’ve got a good mindset. I’m at a good place in life. 

17. I got this!

18. I. Got. This!!!

Give Me Strength…

…to show weakness…and softness

….to stop talking and listen

…to be vulnerable…and humble 

…to forgive often 

…to keep going when my body says no

…to let the past be

…to let the future unfold in its own terms

…to enjoy every moment in the moment 

…to face fear

…to take the high road and not return insults

…to accept the things I have no control over

…to step outside my comfort zone

…to understand that criticizing someone else’s life does not make mine better

…to create and enforce personal boundaries 

…to push limits 

…to have opinions but maintain the ability to hear and consider someone else’s 

…to insist on being a priority, not a convenience 

…to not allow other people’s opinions dictate my life

…to laugh and laugh and laugh, but not at another’s expense 

…to build people up, not tear them down

…to complete an Ironman 

…to understand that another’s reality is not necessarily my reality 

…to embrace my anxiety but not let it convince me that untruths are real

…to open myself up to hurt knowing that is how I grow…and get stronger 

And most importantly 

…TO LOVE FREELY, COMPLETELY, AND WITHOUT BOUNDS!! 

I have three and a half teenagers and now more than ever it is important for me to be strong. To have convictions. To practice what I preach. To push my limits. Some days are easier than others. Some days I fail…big time. My struggles are a fraction of the hardships so many people face. I have been graced with a strong healthy body and a support network that empowers me at every step. For that I cannot express enough gratitude. But I still struggle and the struggle is real. At the end of the month if I have taken two positive steps forward for every negative step backwards, it’s a win!

Take A Step Outside…The Comfort Zone

One hour this morning. I jabbed. I crossed. I did roundhouse kicks. Planks. Lunges. Push ups. Before I knew it I was drenched in sweat and done for the session. Time flew and I was down 600 calories and a bucket of sweat. 

This was my second cardio kickboxing session. I’m not sure I’ve ever left a workout feeling stronger, more empowered…and simply badass. Maybe there’s a primal instinct to want to punch and kick. I’ve certainly never had that urge but in the setting of loud music and a bag…damn it feels amazing. Cathartic.

It’s the end of triathlon season, beginning of try-something-new season…cross training. Kickboxing is so way out of my comfort zone. The moves. The coordination. I find intriguing how I can feel reasonably fit and then I get in front of a bag with some gloves and poof…I’m a beginner. It’s humbling. But after my second session I’ve picked it up a little better. My cross is a little harder. My kicks are a little stronger. I’m using muscles and moving my body in ways that I don’t when I swim, bike, run, or even do Crossfit…and I can feel myself being stronger and fitter in a different way.

Stepping out of the circle of things where I know I’m good…and comfortable…is hard for me. I’m a creature of habit. I don’t necessarily like change. I like to be good at what I’m doing. However I’m finding that, both in the athletic world and in my personal life, trying something new and making myself uncomfortable builds up these little muscles that help me to be a stronger athlete, and person. It makes me see that I can be anxious or feel pain or push myself in a direction I didn’t think I could, and I’ll be ok the next day. I’ll be better even. 

My comfort zone is warm and it wraps itself around me in a blanket of mediocrity. When I put even a foot outside of my zone, I see rich, passionate new adventures waiting for me. It’s a struggle. There’s fear. But in that fear comes growth and confidence and purpose. No regrets!! 

“If you want something you’ve never had then you have to do something you’ve never done.”

Running the Race

Fifteen years ago I was fifty pounds overweight. I was wallowing in a self destructive cycle of unhappiness and overeating and likely depression. I was unfit. I was struggling to keep my shit together all the while putting up the public front that my life was perfect. Life was not so good. 

Sixteen months after the birth of my fourth baby, I took on my first marathon. Still horrendously overweight, out of shape and undertrained, I did it. I finished the Marine Corps Marathon in 5 hours and 45 minutes with a stress fracture in my hip, debilitating shin splints, and a sense of “if I can do this I can do anything”. 

My path since my first marathon has been circuitous, to say the least. I’ve been in and out of shape. I’ve been super motivated and I’ve been stuck in a rut. There were periods when I didn’t love exercise so much. Where just dragging my overweight, out of shape body to the gym or even outside to walk was a chore…painful. I struggled, and continue to struggle, with my weight. What has evolved from all of this…from my path towards a variety of finish lines both in sports and in life, is a desire to be better and a belief that no matter what the obstacle, in some way that may not be my plan, I can finish the race. 

I developed this blog last year to share my trials and tribulations in training for the New York City marathon. It didn’t materialize. I finished the marathon but the blog fell flat. I’ve shared much of my experiences via social media and I’ve gotten great feedback. I’m morphing my two blogs into one that uses training and competing in endurance events as a metaphor for life. My goal is to share the experience of training for and completing a variety of athletic endeavors with hopes to 1) motivate even just one person to take on and work towards a new goal and 2) share the weaknesses and vulnerabilities of a 40 something woman because, well, it’s just nice to know you’re not alone. 

I love to compete and I love to push my body further than my 45-year-old mind thinks I should. 6 months ago I was resigned to the fact that although completing an Ironman was on my bucket list, I just didn’t have the time or toughness to do it. News flash…I’m signing up for and I AM GOING TO complete a full Ironman in 2017. 

My goal might be different than someone else’s but the important point is…have a goal. Anything. Work towards that goal. Make yourself better. Be grateful for everything that IS going well. Enjoy the journey.  

Never Take A Black Dog Running In The Heat

The Adventures of The Sweaty Girl and Her Pup: Part 1

Run started happy. All smiles here. 

 

Pup needed shade and rest at mile 1…bad sign. 

 

But we plugged on…us two panting, sweaty runners. Cooper questions my sanity. 
   

Let there be rest he said. And we rested. River splash for the pup!

 

Cooper offers up a little word to the Big Guy…again I’m sensing he’s questioning me
  

And we rested. 

  

And finally gimped through 8 miles…my sweet black dog and me. Kisses as we passed out in the shade. 

   

Tara’s positive energy: we made it through 8 miles…albeit slowly…but 8 miles on a damn hot day. WE DID IT!! 

Cooper’s reality: why did you drag my black a** for a run in the hottest part of the day?!? Why?!?

Nutrition tidbits: I love…adore even Clif Shot Bloks… strawberry today. Yum! I could just eat them breakfast, lunch, dinner…well…ok good for running (if you’re willing to take a break to chew them) and on the bike. I also love the salted caramel flavor of Gu Gel. It’s like squeezing some caramel heaven in your mouth! Post run…had a little nutrition break down…Nutella and milk. Nutrition nazis will shoot me down…but it was DELICIOUS!!

How Not To Overtrain

I was leafing through Running Times today looking for the article that I was sure would “maximize my long run” when I ran across a little section on overtraining. While I am most certainly not overtraining at the moment…as I haven’t even completed my 10 mile long run #1…I recognize overtraining as a problem for marathoners.

So…here is my answer. I’m cross training the hell out of my marathon training program. I’m doing Crossfit. I’m swimming. I’m biking. I’m doing hot yoga. Oh…and I’m running…a long run every other week and a long bike every other week plus another run or two. I realize I won’t win a prize or even make the top half of my age group but I will finish that marathon and I will do it with minimal to no injuries.

Where Have I Been?

OMG! What is wrong with me. My first week of training has come and gone and here I am…still planning my training schedule. In true Tara style. Making a list…not keeping up with the list…making a new list etc etc etc. On a positive note I did do a couple of Crossfit workouts and rode my bike for 17 miles. I’m kind of not very motivated. Eating crap. 

Another positive note…I’m almost at 1/4 my goal for fundraising for Team Reeve. Had a great response from my last Facebook post and felt so thankful to my friends for supporting me and Team Reeve. 

So…I need to use my fundraising motivation and take it to the road. My goal for the rest of the week is another couple Crossfit workouts and a 10 miler. Oi vey!!