Monday, October 31, 2011

A New Rhythm (Courageous Part 3)

I keep feeling like I am starting over.

Isn't that silly?

As if I have lost ground on this journey to lose weight and become a healthy, fit woman. I guess I might think that if I ate donuts this weekend... oh wait, I did!

But the real deal, actual truth is I am on this journey and I am gaining ground and losing weight. It may not look like what I'd envisioned when I started, but it's okay. I am grateful for the confidence, finally, that I will see it all the way through to the end.

Before I got in the pool today I was wondering if I still remembered how to swim. It's been three weeks since I was able to get to the gym and it felt foreign climbing back into the cold water I spent so many hours in just a few short months ago.

Turns out I did remember how to swim, even though it felt a bit awkward at first. But, I went with the awkward feeling and made myself breathe on my off side. So instead of swimming my regular steady rhythm of breathing to my right, I made myself breathe to the left. It felt strange. I swallowed some water and no doubt drew the attention of the lifeguards a few times.

I asked myself why I was doing this... swimming on the "wrong" side just to make myself uncomfortable. I shot up a prayer in my heart...

I heard the whisper, "You are finding a new rhythm, a way not entirely foreign, but uncomfortable because it's different than what you're used to doing."

Ohhhh, okay.

As I kept swimming I pondered that bit of input. I considered the things I have committed to change lately, in addition to changing my eating habits and getting the exercise I need.

1) I have to stop yelling at my kids. Many times I am not angry, just pushing up my volume to get their attention... seriously, I taught them that is okay. Now it's coming back at me. Disrespect back at my disrespect... yuck. It has to change. Yelling is disrespectful. Period. It has to stop. I will stop. It is a nasty habit that will end. It must.

2) Random clutter must not be a part of our home. I pile stuff up that I am not sure what to do with. I keep stuff I should get rid of. I don't do things right away because I can do them later when something else isn't as pressing... another nasty habit. It will stop. It has to. It is not cultivating the environment I want to raise my family in. I don't want to be constantly looking at more to do. I want to see clear spaces, things put away in their proper place and enjoy the rest of someone who knows there will be stuff to do tomorrow, but for today, things are done.

I have been asking God to give me the courage to change/remove/delete these habits and I started working toward the change I want. 

It has been a little uncomfortable and I have made mistakes, lots, but until I heard that voice in my heart today in the pool I didn't have a clue what to do except go with what Nike says and "Just Do It".

Realizing I am developing a new rhythm has helped me come to terms with the discomfort I am experiencing, just like in the pool. I may swallow some water, cough or choke a bit, but in the end, if I keep at it, I will have developed a couple of new habits that are vital to the blessing of my family and be able to breathe on the left side as comfortably as I do on the right.

Like Dori from Finding Nemo says, "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming..."

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Courageous (Part 2)

This is under my "Courageous" heading because it feels a little intimidating to put all of this "out there". But, because I am passionate about staying REAL with my plans, dreams and desires, it seems important to post.
This past couple of weeks have been pretty hard with sick kids keeping me from going to the gym and my lack of motivation to eat healthy running over my intention to remain "Courageous" in my pursuit of a healthy, fit and happy me. So I decided to re-evaluate where I want to go in order to get off my cowardly booty and get moving towards goals again. 
Here it is:
Weight Loss Vision and Fitness goals
October 26, 2011 – March 6, 2012 (19 weeks)

I will be healthy and strong,
 able to maintain a fit and quality balanced life in every area.

Spiritually I will be moving humbly and confidently in the gifts God has given me, deliberately listening to Him every day.

Emotionally, I will walk in the Spirit, aware of the "curve balls" of life and consistently living in the Fruit of the Spirit: Galatians 5:22-23 (The Message Version) But what happens when we live God's way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely. 
Mentally, I will embrace filling my head with edifying and interesting information designed to “build” my mental muscles. I will read a book a month (balanced between spiritual growth, parenting, leadership development, and entertainment).

Physically, I will be training for the Coeur d’Alene Half Marathon on May 27, 2012, looking forward to 2 Sprint triathlons (Hayden and Wunder Woman), considering the Long Bridge swim (still praying about that one) and actively weight training. I will learn how to use the ‘foam roll’ stretching technique and enjoying spinning class. I will never take for granted my ability to do anything athletic and be grateful I have a body that I can move!

I have no idea what I will weigh or what size I will wear.
I look forward to living in a body and mind that are healthy and fit, raising my children to do the same, and working together as a family to serve the church and community as the Lord leads.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Courageous (part 1)

I have just returned from a glorious vacation with my Love. Celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary has been a whirlwind of memories and laughter. Collage posters of old pics and new remind me of how I looked back then and now.

The interesting thing: I remember how I felt about myself back then and how I feel now. Separating body image from self-image is something that I highly recommend.  I am not exactly sure how or when it happened but one day, only a year or two ago, I looked in the mirror and who I am was different than what my body looked like.  I encourage anyone with any "body issues or eating issues" to take a moment to consider that you (who you are on the inside) are not only the sum of how you look in the mirror. I didn't see that back then. All I saw were the flaws in my body when I looked in the mirror. I see that 20-something girl and wish she knew how beautiful she was - inside and out.

I am a part of a weight loss challenge at my local gym right now. We are broken up into teams. My team is called "Courageous". Each of us is significantly overweight and so we have a long way to go. We have different challenges in our lives that tempt us to stray (in actions or attitude) from our desire to become the fit, strong, healthy women God designed us to be. However, each of us take turns reminding each other to be "Courageous".

It takes TIME to work through the "gunk" that got us to where we are right now.
It takes ENERGY to get to the gym to get the exercise we know our bodies need.
It takes STAMINA to keep up the hard work when we get sick, go on vacation, get stressed or tired, and feel like caving in to the moment.

We know this is a journey. One day at a time we have to focus on our goal, encourage each other and keep up a steady pace toward the finish line.

Courage means "the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc. without fear; bravery."

Courageous means possessing or characterized by courage.

The opposite of courage - cowardice.

We want to be courageous as we approach this challenge that many of us have been struggling with for over 20 years.

We are keeping up the good hard work - TOGETHER.

And someday, I will look back on the pictures taken this summer and the ones taken so many summers before and see a courageous woman who took on a big challenge and saw it through all the way to the end.

May you be blessed and I pray, find dear ones to join you on your journey.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Swimmin' A Mile

This was my biggest physical challenge yet. I have already written about how hard it was training for this.

Last Monday I met Iron Tony at the lake for a final mile before race day. It was good, working hard on technique and not letting a single negative thought in my head. I found that focusing on the many techniques to swim well and this worship song kept me busy enough there was no space for "I can't do this" thinking.

We finished up just short of a mile with a time of 52:00. It was just too dark to swim further. I felt victorious and excited. I KNEW I could have kept swimming if it wasn't too dark, I still had "gas left in my tank!"

The next day I had a particularly discouraging conversation with someone who should have been encouraging. It had to do with my swim and his assessment that I was unprepared to meet the 50 minute cut off time because I didn't train enough. It was devastating. Especially after the hours I DID spend training within what my life allowed.

I reached out for the ones who know me. My Love, my Coach/Friends, and Iron Tony all assured me he was wrong and I would give it my strongest best effort and that was all that mattered. I contacted the race director expressing my concern over the time limit. He remembered me from my previous triathlon and he was sure I would be fine (at the pre-race meeting they announced we would have 70 minutes from our start time to finish the swim - I could DEFINITELY make it in that time).

I took one final swim in the pool on Friday, after staying out for two days because of that unpleasant encounter. The Coach for my "Water For Lunch" class helped me do one final, light workout, gave me some really great input and helped me make a strategy for race day. I walked away from the pool full of confidence, sure I would be able to have my best swim ever.

I cleaned house for the rest of the day Friday, went to our pre-race meeting with my Love who was cycling and our friend who would complete the run, had a yummy dinner of grilled fish, rice, and broccoli then folded laundry til about 9:30 that night. I flipped through my Amplified version of the Bible (because it was beside my bed and felt led to Philippians 4:13, the verse you see around a lot "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength." BUT, in the Amplified version, it reads like this: "I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ's sufficiency]." I felt this old favorite verse penetrate deep within my soul. I spent a moment thanking God for speaking to me and went to sleep.

I woke up to a beautiful Saturday morning, confident and excited. Leaving Nana at home with our fellas we headed out to pick up our friend. We parked and started walking toward the park. I felt the pre-race electricity in the air. Athletes all converging anticipating optimal performance from all their training.

I squeezed myself into my black and red wetsuit, chuckling as usual. I walked down and got in the lake with many of the athletes. This time I felt like I belonged there. Stepping in, walking deeper, wetsuit filling with the slightly warmer than expected lake water, I began to warm up, one stroke at a time, face in the water, taking breaths trying to keep one goggle in the water and only letting my mouth out for air. Swallowed water, spit it out, tried again. It worked this time, I was able to breathe without looking up to the sky, dropping my feet and slowing my momentum. It felt like home. The smell, the taste, the sounds, the rhythm of my strokes, all familiar.

I swam to the starting area, two other groups began before mine. Watching them swim ahead I tried not to look at how far away the buoys seemed, but focused on the fact I had done this distance 4 times in the lake and at least 6 times in the pool. I was ready. Without a doubt. And what a beautiful sky!

The horn sounded and I let almost all the swimmers go in before me. I hit the start button on my watch timer and got in. I wanted so badly to catch up with the pack, adrenalin kicking in fast and strong. BUT, my strategy held me back. I knew that in order to swim the entire mile at a strong steady pace without having to stop to catch my breath I would have to swim strong and technique focused not "fast".

I worked on keeping my head down, reaching for each stroke with my whole torso, pushing the water the length of my body and keeping my legs straight when I kicked. Each breath, keeping my head low, glancing up only every 20 strokes or so to spot the buoy ahead. I saw dozens of white swim caps like mine far ahead. I decided to focus on only my race, not how far behind I was. Again.

I hummed the same song from Monday in my heart, focusing on my body's ability to move through the water, God's beauty in me and around me knowing I could keep this pace the whole way. I passed a few swimmers joking with the people in kayaks watching out for us. I just kept swimming, no need to waste precious time chatting. I did have to stop unexpectedly when 18"-24" swells made it impossible to swim. A big boat had gone by. I rode the swells like I used to out in the ocean as a body surfing teenager, completely calm and only slightly annoyed they were slowing me down. As soon as they passed I got back to work.

It wasn't until I passed the final buoy that I started to notice myself getting tired. I kept swimming, kicking harder (just like I planned) so I wouldn't leave a bit of gas in my tank. I knew my Love was waiting for me to finish so he could take off on his bike. I didn't want to slow him down one bit.

All of a sudden I hear a voice, see an orange kayak and I have to stop and see what is going on. The man in the kayak says, "turn a bit, I don't want you swimming any farther than you're supposed to!" I made an adjustment in my direction and kept swimming. A few minutes later he was super close again. I stopped and looked up. "I am just keeping you on track! Wow! You're tenacious! Swimming hard for the final stretch! Great job!" He stayed by my side until I was close enough to see the place to exit the beach.

The whole time I was swimming with him by my side I kept thinking of the verse that says, "You have hedged me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me." (Psalm 139:5 NKJV) or like I looked up later in the Message version, "I look behind me and you're there, then up ahead and you're there, too—  your reassuring presence, coming and going." That is how I felt. He was there. Watching me, hand on me, reminding me of His beauty in me, the strength He gave me, the power He gave me.

So I used it. All of it. The beauty, the strength, the power, all for His glory for the best swim of my life so far. I pressed the stop button on my watch and it said 48:41, an extraordinary time for me.

I was greeted at the finish of the swim by Iron Alicia, emotional but still taking my picture as I came out of the water. She cheered hugging me and telling me what a great job I did. I got choked up a bit but had to get up the stairs on tired wobbly legs to hand off the timing chip to my Love who was ready for his bike ride. I stopped to smile for my friend's Love who was taking my picture, their kids telling me "congratulations!"

My Love greeted me, beaming with "THAT WAS AWESOME!" grabbed my chip and took off on his bike. My friend and I talked about what an amazing time I had an how excited I was, how incredible I felt and how great it was to be done!

She and I visited, walking around a bit while we waited for my Love to come back from the grueling bike ride. He did. Finishing in his best time ever too. Our friend took off on her run, strong and fast. As far as I am concerned, she had the hardest part. By the time she started it was hot, most of the pack was ahead of her and part of the road was gravel. She still finished in a great time and we were all thankful for an excellent safe race.

What an amazing day. But yet, there is more to come. To quote Iron Tony, "Jen so proud of what you have overcome and achieved these last two weeks. The way in which you engage each new obstacle should forever be changed. Now, go out there and DO!" 

He's right. Each new obstacle will be engaged differently from now on. I KNOW from tangible personal experience in a major life event, "I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ's sufficiency]." 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Water and Its Effect on Me

I have so many words "floating" around in my head today, anticipating the race on Saturday. I decided to take a "less is more" approach.

I have always loved the water. Years of visits to the beach, splashing on the shore and body surfing where I grew up in California, hours spent by the lakes, in them or on them (when friends share their boats with us), long soaks in the tub and drinking lots of it culminate into this:


The sight of you blesses me
The refreshment of your presence
The sound of your motion
The power of your mass.

Walking beside you,
Listening to you speak,
Waves crashing,
Brooks bubbling,
Swells lapping the shore.

You pour over me when I am in you
You move me
Your depth is hard for me to consider
I don’t know what lies beneath
But I am drawn to you

Unnerved by your effect on me
I push past my fears
My questions

I press in
Move through
My strength is no match for yours

The One who created you
Made me
Gave me something you will never have

A mind
Set on purpose and destiny
Fixed on a goal
Faith to the finish

You will be what you were created to be

I will be what I was created to be

At the end of this race
You remain the same
But I am forever changed.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Pushing Past Hard

Many people keep calling me amazing and inspirational. I am not always sure what to do with that.

Sometimes knowing my efforts encourage people nudges me past discomfort to keep going. But this latest swimming challenge is the hardest thing I have ever done.

I have referred to swimming the mile as eating an elephant one bite at a time. Except a lot of the time, I am just not hungry! Or am I?

I want this. Don't get me wrong. I want to complete the mile swim for the Triathlon next week. I really do. I know I can do it. It's the time limit that is messing with my head.

Until now I have not really had a time limit for anything. The sprint triathlons I have finished have provided plenty of time for me to finish. They are designed for people like me to be able to complete them.

But, Olympic distance triathlons are not, I guess.

I knew it would be hard work and I knew it would be a big challenge for me. But, swimming one mile in 50 minutes is really messing with my head.

Part of it is that my Love has been training SO hard for it and my friend has too. I don't want to let them down. If I don't finish within the time allotted we are disqualified as a team. I know they both love me and won't hate me or anything, I just want them to be able to do their portion too. I want us all to complete this event together and enjoy the victory as a team.

Last night, in the water, I was battling my head again. Thoughts crowding in:
You can't do this!
What were you thinking?
WHY are you doing this, you won't make the time anyway?
You'll never be able to do it right.
I'm too tired!
This is too hard!
I don't want to!

THAT slows me down.

I battle my head occasionally when I am training but never like this. I know if I can win the battle in my head, I'd probably cut MINUTES off of my time. When I start to get anxious, I swim harder (not more efficiently) boosting my heart rate to the point where I have to stop and side-stroke to catch my breath. That slows me down. Thinking negatively will ALWAYS reduce efficiency - no matter what I am doing.

So, I am on a quest. I am praying, thinking and considering what I need to do to make this battle in my head stop. To conquer the negativity and focus on the completion of this GREAT but hard challenge.

I will push past hard, because I know I can. I just haven't figured out how to do it yet.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Fist Drills, boogers in the water, and why I swim anyway...

I have so much writing I haven't done that I am starting to feel mentally constipated.

Yes, appealing concept I know. I just wanted you to understand why this sudden surge in my blogging... must write NOW!

Today during swim class (water for lunch at the Kroc - yes, often I swallow enough to get my "fill") I had to do several drills to improve strength in the water. My favorite - 5 / 100m Fist Drills. Yes, it is what it sounds like - make a fist and swim freestyle feeling the water pull against your lower arm.

It was hard at first but then I started to get into it. Punching the water, pulling it hard across my abdomen then coming up for air, repeat. It was so empowering feeling muscles forcing me forward making me focus on my arms and what position they are in for the full range of motion. I was tired by the end but knew I made the most of this exercise which always feels good!

One of my least favorite thing about swimming is what you see in the water. Last night in the lake there were two schools of tiny fish I swam through. It totally creeped me out. All I could think of was one of those suckers getting stuck in my wetsuit and wiggling around in there....ewww! Creeps me out even now. The other thing... swimming in the pool. Boogers. Ick. I know there is enough chemicals to suck the germs out of everything in the water, but seeing the stuff floating by as I swim, uuuuggghhhh. I try not to think about it but seriously, as one who has had snot issues (the grossest of bodily functions as far as I'm concerned - I know, I am weird that way), seeing it in the pool makes me almost gag.

So why in the world do I swim?

Because I love feeling the water flow past me, floating in it, pushing myself through it, wishing I had gills so I could just keep swimming instead of pulling my head up to breathe or sight for markers. There is something powerful and peaceful about the water. When it splashes into my face when I take a breath, it catches me, forcing me to stop, cough it up. But when I get my rhythm, stroke, stroke, breathe, stroke, stroke, breathe, I feel a part of it. Peaceful, my presence merged with the water (until I see a fish or a booger), together in motion, fluid in our connection.

I respect the water. I know how it can affect me, both good and bad. I know I can conquer it with determination, strength and focus. I know it could conquer me if I am slack in my attentiveness to its properties. It challenges me. I love that.

There ya have it, today's off-load of what has been "floating" through my head. :)

Sunday, July 31, 2011

One Mile in the Lake

Today wasn't our usual Sunday. It was modified by our training schedule for the Olympic distance triathlon we are doing as a team with another friend. My Love started the morning by pedaling out of our driveway for a 26mi bike ride just before 7am. It went fairly smooth. It would have been perfect except he missed a turn and ended up having to backtrack up a gigantic hill. He made it home safe and pretty tired.

Then we went to church! After lunch, a short nap for me with my smallest fella and my Love and big guys went for a bike ride.

Now for the big deal... swimming a mile... it was like eating an elephant... one bite at a time... but you're super hungry when your done even though you have a belly full of lake water!

I write this with aches and exhaustion like I haven't felt since I finished my last tri. Even more so, I think.

It was a warm gorgeous day today, the beach had sunbathers, kids playing and parents watching. My friend met me on the beach, she swam a few hundred yards while waiting for me. Iron Alicia works very hard at her personal fitness. Today, she slowed down her super speed swimming to slowly crawl a mile, about a hundred yards at a time, wait for me, check on me, and swim back toward me when she saw me stop. Her consistent encouragement made me believe I was capable of eating this elephant one small bite at a time.

The water was choppy, just shy of white-caps. Every 10th breath I'd take I would end up with a mouth full of wave. Sometimes I'd spit and sputter it out, other times, I'd have to stop, cough and gag a bit. It seemed to take forever to get my breathing to regulate and get my heart rate to something similar to normal.I think I swam over 700yds before that happened.

I wish I could tell you I received some kind of major spiritual revelation. But I didn't.

I wish I could tell you I didn't cry into my goggles. But I did.

I had to work for it. REALLY HARD. Most of you who follow my blog know I am no stranger to hard physical work, but today was different. I couldn't shake the head games "I can't do this", "how am I going to finish a mile within the one hour time limit?" "Ironman? What was I thinking?!" "I want to quit". And the list goes on. I would chatter to myself that I can do this, I can do this, just keep swimming, just keep swimming.... etc. but deep in my heart, I kept doubting myself.

No worship songs could keep me focused,  no fixing my head on what I am capable of. I struggled the whole way, complete with poking my head up every few strokes looking up to see how far I had yet to go, saying "Sh%$!" out loud, then tucking my head back in, swimming a few strokes and looking up again.

Inside I chuckled to myself, laughing that if I was expecting something spiritual to pop up in the midst of my swearing, I was likely crazy. But, it has happened. So glad God "gets" me.

I made it. The pressure on my eyeballs from my goggles, cramps in my calves, crying, and all. Iron Alicia greeted me with her cheery smile and a great big hug as I teared up again. Iron Randy met us at the beach to say "You made it! Good job!"

"Now you know you can do it", one of them said. Honestly, I am so blurry about the rest of it because it took all I had just to get my wetsuit off, dry off, get clothes on and get back to the truck.

Where I sat. Called my Love to let him know I did it. He said I was breaking up, I said, no, I am crying again.

By the time I was headed to get my dinner, I was contemplating my ability to complete the mile in the tri. I was reasoning that if I hit it hard in the next two weeks, swimming almost daily, I should be fine. No need to fear eating elephants, swallowing lake water or giant waves.

After all, I've already done it once, right?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Letdown and Tired of Waiting

I have finished well my second triathlon. I know what comes next. The physical, emotional, mental letdown. I know that to some degree everyone does it. Except maybe those folks who can just bust it out and jump to the next event. But for me, the letdown is big, again.

When I am training I am pushing through my body image issues to get the WORK done. I barely focus on the mirror (except to make sure nothing is hanging/falling out) but fix my gaze on the goal. I see myself in my mind's eye as strong, efficient, powerful.

I want to see the pictures of the event, I really do. But when I look at them I see them two different ways. It's not like I look at them and see it one way and then another, I see both of these things at once. I see the joy on my face and the fat of my butt, I see the strength and cut of my triceps as I hold the handlebars and the cleavage of tons of boob shoved into a cage-like sports bra. I see the belly that held my three miracles and the leftover skin and fat that remains, I see the squishy covering over the hard earned muscles that propel me to the finish line.

I know the heart behind the eyes of the woman I am. I ache for the body I've worked hard for to show instead of the lumps and bumps. I wonder if when people call me an "inspiration" is it because I am pushing past the size of my body to do something big or because, even though they are less than half my size, they would never be seen  in public wearing cycling shorts and a sports bra, let alone around a bunch of skinny and super fit people and random strangers looking on, or ?? (you fill in the blank).

My answer to myself, even today, was to write this poem, maintaining my transparency and the truth I choose to walk in.If it means looking like this, I will continue to do what He's asked me to do, solely because He's asked me to do it.

 Tired of Waiting

It is so hard.
   I am tired of it being so hard.
     All the time.

Pushing through
   Wanting to cry
     Smiling anyway.

Speaking life
   Learning not to shout
     But needing to get the grumpy out.

Changes longed for
   Motions gone through
     Still waiting.

Tired of waiting for my body to change
   Hard to find the beauty
     Looking, looking.

In Faith, believing
   In Truth, knowing
     In Hope, walking.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Triathlon # 2

There are many more pictures. I will post them when I get them all from my friends. But for right now, here's the story...

I had such a great day!

The freakouts earlier in the week paid off for a peaceful wake up Saturday morning. I set my alarm for 4:30am and was only tempted to hit snooze for about 10 seconds. I climbed out of bed and wandered around my quiet house.

The sun was beginning it's morning rise and I thanked God for a beautiful day. I hummed a tune in my heart, happy to see how the day would turn out. I showered, got dressed in my cycling shorts, sports bra, and tank top only glancing in the mirror for a second. I did not want to dwell on the lumps and bumps, only a quick flex of my biceps and a giggle.

My Love woke up and started his process for departure. I wanted to chatter my excitement with him but I could see, he would not be amused by my banter. He admitted some nerves and I left him alone.

We headed off to the event in his truck, all parts and pieces accounted for. I reminded my Love, being up this early is like going hot air ballooning (something we used to do all the time together) but a lot more work. He rolled his eyes and said A LOT more work!

As we pulled into the gravel pit to park I looked around at all the fancy bikes owned by the serious triathletes that would cross the finish line LONG before me. I thanked God for them, praying for a great race for all.

My Love efficiently loaded his bag on his back and rode his bike up the road. (We agreed earlier we didn't have to be together every minute. It was our race day as individuals, we are different in our preparation needs.)

Since balance is not my best skill, I determined I'd be safer to lug my wetsuit, push my bike and walk to the beach. It wasn't my favorite part of the day but I did like the smell of the fresh morning air. I would have taken a picture but I had already passed my camera on to Nana so she could use it during the event.

There were many athletes already filling up the transition area. Bikes hanging from their seats suspended from long metal bars. Preparations were made for each transition, swim to bike, bike to run. Iron Tony taught me how to set my area up, my Love followed the example of the guy next to him. He came over and helped me get into my wetsuit after I made a quick trip to the restroom.

It takes two of us to put my wetsuit on. I laugh every time. I can get it up most of the way, but with my generous behind, he pulls it up from the back and everything gets stuffed into the suit. He chuckles too. But we both look forward to the day I can do it by myself and my rear isn't so big.

I wander over to the swimmers volunteering to be "swim buddies" for triathletes who want a little extra coaching during the swim. I though it was a good idea when I was sure I didn't need it. I felt a nudge in the wee hours of the night, I need to have a buddy. My pride and even my training said I could make it just fine. But, standing there on the beach, I knew I needed to ask for help. So I did. Just at the right time.

Let me tell you a little bit about my randomly selected "swim buddy". Amy is a wonderful young woman I met at the Kroc when I had a question about child care. She is the supervisor over all the child-watch personnel. We had a great visit and she was able to help me with my concern. Then, there, on the beach, she is! Ready to be my swim buddy! I was thankful. She swam beside me, coaching me on how to slow my anxious breathing, distracting me from the awkward discomfort of swimming in my wetsuit and counting my strokes with me between buoys. Swimming this way kept me focused, pushed me forward and moved me beyond the race day nerves that were threatening to overtake me. By the time we hit the beach I felt mentally ready and in great shape to strip the wetsuit and hop on my bike.

I was shaky walking to my bike, aware that the water-laden wetsuit really taxed me more than I anticipated. My Love was almost ready to head out on the bike and I was glad to see personally he made it out of the water just fine. Good friends were waiting for me, Iron Tony was stocking my bike with a spare tube and CO2 cartridge in case I needed it, and I felt blessed.

I grabbed a gel, sucked it down with all the grace of a starving horse, removed my bulky rubber suit without falling over, dried my feet, socks and shoes on, sunglasses on, gloves on, helmet on, checked with Iron Tony on what I had and what I needed and began walking my bike toward the line where I could get on. Roughly 50 people were watching. I wondered if I would fall over in front of them. My legs still felt like jello, but I managed to get my feet in the pedal cages and ride out to the course.

As I was riding out, the super fast guys are dropping their bikes off and starting the run. Just like last time, I will do most of the race alone with almost every racer ahead of me. No problem. Then they won't hear me singing!

As I turn the corner onto the street I will ride the majority of the 12 miles on, my legs are weaker than ever. I keep down shifting to make the pedaling easier so I can just keep moving. I cry out to God, questioning what was happening with my body, knowing I have MUCH more ability than what is coming out. "It's not you" I heard in my heart.

Ugh! Then what the HECK is going on??!!! I looked around, desperate to figure it out! The wind was whipping through my helmet but it seemed to be blowing to the east, pushing on my left side. That should not be slowing me down that much. People who have already made it to the turn around are headed my way, some deeply focused on their speed, others looking up and cheering me on. I just felt slow and pathetic.

So, I did what I do. I sang. It sounds silly. It kinda is. I don't care. I don't remember what, some little Sunday school chorus that popped into my head. I told you in my night before blog that I would worship all the way.

Side note: I told my Love and our friend that the most important thing about finishing a triathlon is knowing what you will say to yourself when you want to quit. What I do - I sing. Focusing on the Joy in my heart shifts my gaze from the challenge before me to the greatness of God within me.

I briefly indulged the question about whether I could make it through to the turn around point when my Love, coming right toward me, gave me a big grin, a fist pump and a "whooo hoo"! I grinned and hollered back "great job!" and kept going, still slower than my normal speed, but spinning those pedals around regardless. I kept praying, "where is my high gear Lord, my strength, my power on the pedals, I KNOW I have it!!!" A few minutes later our friend comes toward me, saying "You got this! Its all downhill once you turn around!". I took him at his word and kept going.

More cyclists passed me and after what seemed like forever I made it to the turn around. Now, this is where I fell over into a ditch last time so I was feeling a bit tense about turning, my balance issues giving me pause. Thankfully there was a nice wide turn available and I took it. And WHOOOSH! The wind was at my back!

I started pedaling, shifting up, gear after gear until I was averaging about 18mph. That is my main solid "go time" speed. Once I get to the turn around on any ride I feel a little like a barn-sour horse ready to run back to the stable. I cranked the speed up even faster and buzzed my way back to the transition area waving and whooping it up when I passed Nana and the kids again, and then, more friends cheering and screaming my name! How energizing is that! It was great!

Pushing hard on those pedals to make up for the slow first half of the bike ride.
When I arrived back to the "barn" I had to dismount my bike in front of even MORE people. I felt pretty good. My heart rate was up pretty high so I slowed it down by chattering with my friends while removing helmet, gloves, putting on my running hat, drinking from my bike's water bottle (balance issues prevent me from reaching it while riding) and some kind stranger helped me get my bike back on the rack. I carried my gel with me as I high-fived Iron Tony on my way out to the run.

My legs felt like tree trunks as I jogged past the cheering section. Great friends and strangers propelling me forward with their "Go Girl! You got this! Go Jennifer! You can do it!" I ran on, greeting a gal who was walking/jogging/walking in front of me. I caught up to her and tried to encourage her to match my slow steady pace. She didn't want to. So I ran on.

 Around the corner there are my boys, yelling and running right to me, they ran beside me several feet and Nana snapped a few pictures. Again, energized by my precious fellas, I relaxed and got into my groove.

I waved and smiled at people cheering for me as they drove by, goofy grin stuck on my face. Just one foot in front of the other from now on, I knew I was going to make it. I chased a gal for a while, eventually catching up to her. She was 65 and she completed her first triathlon the weekend before! I did pass her and kept my stride solid and strong.

Once I made it up the hill, it seemed to take forever, I saw a volunteer. I said "Holy Bucket's Batman, am I there yet?" He laughed and said, "Almost!" Then, a few minutes later, my new friend and swim buddy Amy walked up to me. She walked beside me while I ran thanking me for her experience with me. I thanked HER profusely and kept going. I turned the corner on the shady lane, I was almost there!

Twenty feet ahead of me there was a young man cheering for me, telling me "You got this" "keep up the great pace!" When I was even with his position he began running beside me. I asked him why he was there and he said he hated to leave anyone running alone at the end. I asked him if he was an Ironman. He said yes. I told him of my plans for Ironman 2016. He was impressed and said I had plenty of time to get ready. His pace was faster than mine, so I matched it. I told him about my Angels in Spandex blog from my last triathlon and he was my "angel in spandex" this time. I thanked him for the extra boost. He stopped at the base of the hill while I ran on. I could hear him cheering loudly as I ran for the finish line.

I picked up my pace, determined, as before to not leave one drop of gas in my tank. I came to expend every bit of training I worked so hard for! I ran faster, cheered on by so many strangers it gave me goosebumps and brought tears to my eyes.

In Lake Stevens last year, strangers cheered me on, but this time, it was my community, supporting me, cheering for me and driving me ahead with their encouragement. It was powerful!

Even more special, my Love, and then our sons, joining me on the last bit of my run, jogging with me all the way to the end. Precious friends, Nana and the kids, all hollering and cheering, blessing me with their presence and their words, I felt empowered as I crossed the line.

I hadn't been across the line for 20 seconds before my boys were asking me questions. "Can I have a drink of your water Mommy?, Can I have a cookie? Why can't I have a cookie? What are we doing now Mommy?" I kept saying the same thing, "ask your Dad!" all the while cracking up, knowing, I am first wife, then mommy, then athlete. It took me about 5 minutes; a whole bottle of water, and a protein bar before I could answer their questions. We took several pictures and I hugged them a lot. They were so excited. I was too.

Someone told me I beat my time from last year. That was super exciting! I got goosebumps again, but they quickly dissipated as little boys needed to go potty, friends were saying good bye and we needed to pack our stuff up and get back to the truck.

I know that ending sounds a little anti-climactic. But, for me it's not. Relationships are the most important thing to me. Cheering on my Love and celebrating with him, his big finish within the time I was sure he'd make, hugging Nana and thanking her for being willing to wrangle our three busy boys so we could do this, thanking dear friends for making our big day important to them too, and most of all, resuming my beloved job as Mommy, by holding my three year old up high enough so he could go pee pee in the potty before we headed back to the car, and the big boys helping Daddy and I push our bikes for the long walk back, chattering about whatever crossed their minds.

What a great day!
One of my favorite pictures. I missed my Love crossing the finish line, but the boys were there to greet him!
Three Amigos!

My Love bought us Subway after the race, then we went to a triathlete and family BBQ in the afternoon, then we had our celebration dinner! Nana brought champagne and I cooked Costco salmon and bell peppers on the grill. It was Yummy!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Ready, Set, GO!

Okay, it's the night before my triathlon and I have a full load of kids clothes to fold on my side of the bed.

I have been pondering all day the point of all this and really it's this:

Completing a triathlon is an extension of my fitness. Its a fun workout with a bunch of people. I am not competitive so it's not a big deal how fast I go. I just want to do my best workout thus far.

My right hip is sore tonight and that is making me a little nervous. Saying a prayer about it now.

I watched a memorial procession for a fallen soldier today. It was quite moving. That really matters.

In the grand scheme of things, this event is one more step of my fitness plan. A significant one, since it is longer than the one I did last year. But, a step nonetheless.

My Love and I are at peace with each other. Nana is sleeping on the couch and prepared to get the boys rolling tomorrow on her own to cheer us on to the finish.

I have good friends that will be there to cheer me on, my Love will pass me and I will wave and smile, celebrating all his hard work that got him here too.

It will be a good day. I am so thankful for a body that can move, for the strength of mind and spirit to work super hard and the joy of the Lord in my heart to worship Him from start to finish.

God bless YOU tomorrow, whatever you do with it! :)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Pushing Past Fear

I swam in the lake tonight with my Love. His Mom and our kids watched from the car.

I felt okay in my new wetsuit. It is a little big on me. But it's much better than what it could be considering it's a men's suit cut down for this short girl.

But here's the deal. I am afraid this time. Last time I did a triathlon I had a book that I worked through. I read it and diligently did every single workout faithfully. When it came time for race day I knew I was physically ready to do the race.

This time my fitness level was already beyond the book so I did different workouts, added some classes, and focused more on my nutrition. I haven't spent as much time swimming, biking or running as I would have liked. I got sick a couple of weeks ago and spent most of it resting instead of getting in several more good workouts. We also went camping, did fun family stuff, and listened to the kids when they said they were sick of going to the Kroc (where I work out).

I was talking to a friend tonight I told her I was struggling with acknowledging that this triathlon isn't going to be much different than last year. I am just going to have to focus on finishing. Why? Because I have a life apart from biking, running, and swimming. My three little boys need their mom. I want to be there for them. When I push hard in my training like I have the last few days, I have SO much less energy to attend to them and I hate it. I have already decided that the majority of tomorrow will be spent snuggling, playing cards, and generally hanging out with them. Same for Friday. I have a bike ride to do tomorrow morning but other than that, and a few more loads of what seems like endless laundry, THEY will be my focus, not this silly race.

They are the reason I do this stuff. It sounds a little wacky, but as a former executive secretary and couch potato I knew I wanted more for my kids and I than a sofa-surfin' life. I want to run with them, kick the soccer ball around and be generally able to race them and at least keep up! Sure, I could have just picked one sport, but really, I get bored with exercise fairly easily. I don't find it terribly fun. With cross-training like this plus strength training I am always doing something different.

I really thought I would weigh less by the time I did another triathlon. I thought I would just be smaller and therefore faster than I was. I am not. Not much has changed. I believe I am stronger and more confident in my bike and swim. My run is just what it is, a slow steady pace for a girl who has half her body weight to lose.

Someone asked me today if I was bothered about it being here locally. I said no, but now that I think about it... nope. "I yam what I yam" to quote Popeye. I have nothing to hide and nothing to bare. I am just me. Working hard for fitness, completing a goal and pushing past comfort zones (mine and the people watching my curvaceous self).

Back to my messed up head...
What the heck is my problem? The negative self talk is pounding at me like a hammer. Like Energizer bunnies the questions and fear bang in my head: Will I be able to do this? My anxiety is literally off the charts (went to bed last night almost shaking), the fear of wiping out due to exhaustion, and the questions in my head about is this all worth it?

These "bunnies" that I would normally shoot down with scriptural bullets are evading destruction. So, on some level I am agreeing or entertaining them still.


If I take a deep breath, I look at the over 900 minutes I have spent training in just the last 5 weeks (about 15 hours) I am well aware that I can do this race. Would I love to be more fit and more trained sure, but I already gave you the reasons above why I am not.

Bottom line: I have not reached my own expectations of where I thought I would be in fitness or weight/size. I am disappointed and because I didn't do it "by the book" this time, I have no real concrete thing I can point to that says "You're ready!" (insert big fake grin here)

I will push past the fear because I KNOW I CAN.

I need to spend the next couple of days hunkered down in what/who I know God has called me to be as a wife, mom and athlete. Like my friend Iron Tony (Ironman 2010 finisher and my coach on bike and swim) says, "Freak out now! Go on, get it all out! Now....relax. Breathe. Reflect on your training. The race is nothing more than a 2+ hr training day. You've put in the hrs. You're golden!"

He's right.

Now I have to go shoot the "bunnies".

If you want to help me shoot the "bunnies" leave me a note - anonymous or otherwise letting me know if I have encouraged you at all in this crazy journey I am on!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Cough, Cough, Sniff, Sniff...

As a full-time stay-at-home-mom I find myself a little grumpy when I get sick. This challenge to my attitude comes because I KNOW if I can only get some real rest I can resume my regular duties swiftly.

But that almost never happens, does it?

So, I cook, sneeze, do dishes (feeling my brain smash up against my forehead when I bend over for to fill or empty the silverware and other items on the bottom), fold laundry, cough, sniff, cough, trying to keep the balance between sanity, good nutrition, sniff, and yes, good parenting along with trying to get some good rest. Cough, cough.

I don't know about those of you reading this but having a head cold does not promote good eating as well as good attitudes. I work hard on both when I am not feeling better when I want to.

The last few days have been a real test. This is what I've done:

 - Snuggle my kids - invite them to settle in on the couch with me

 - Once I am "up" try to accomplish something I value - like give myself a clear surface to look at while I surf the sofa with my 5yr old on my lap.

 - Challenge my guys to fun tasks - yesterday I challenged my 7yr old to make as many Star Wars space ships as he could out of his Legos. He made 6! He was so proud! So was I.

 - Close my eyes - yes, my sons have finally reached the stage where, IF I am easily available (and front and center in the living room) I can close my eyes for a few minutes and not worry about the house falling down around me. Dozing like this usually invites at least one of them to curl up with me. Something I don't usually make a lot of time for when I am busy.

 - Fuel my body for health - When I feel crappy I often eat crappy. I am trying to change that. Recognizing that nutrition remains a MAJOR key to all health and fitness goals. Eating healthy while sick HELPS me get better faster!

 - Rest my body - I am 16 days away from my first triathlon for the summer. I am in full training mode and that is the biggest reason for me to struggle with my attitude. I have good momentum built and now STOP!! I'm sick!! Grrr!!! But, this is a reminder that completing a triathlon is NOT more important than my caring for my body, nurturing or nourishing my children with my presence as well as good food, and super important, encouraging my Love as he prepares for his first tri.

 - Trust my fitness level. I work really hard, often,  on my fitness. If I take a minute to consider the condition of my body, I really KNOW I am strong enough to complete the race ahead. Would I love to be faster, stronger, leaner? - you betcha, but the progress I am making is still progress... and I don't want to make it at the expense of any of the valuable people in my life!!

There ya have it...

I still am not sure how to do it ALL the time. But I am working on it.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Being Who God Made Me to Be - No Matter What

I haven't really posted much on here consistently and a lot of it has to do with so much happening in my heart and mind. I can't really nail it down and I feel like I am hanging on for the ride.

I have been contemplating my impact on all of you, my readers. I've been asking God to give me what I need to share.

I have been feeling a lot like this lately:

It actually makes me laugh at myself and keeps me headed in the right direction.

Today I hurt myself walking into the gym. Yep. I made it into the front door, checked the kids in, visited with a good friend, then walked into the workout area only to have my annoying slight twinge in my hip escalate into full on muscle spasm.

Sometimes I can work it out with exercise, so I tried the elliptical, that hurt more, so I headed for the pool, noticing there was a water aerobics class starting in a few minutes so I tried that, too much twisting my owie hip, so I got out during class (never really done that before) and went to the hot tub. I can only imagine how great I looked backing the right side of my booty into a jet at just the right angle... ugh. That helped for a bit. Long enough to get dressed and head back to get the kids, limping.

All that to say, our hope is not in what we can "DO" but in who God has made us to BE. Today I have been fighting the "why try" and "who cares" attitudes.

The still small Voice in my heart keeps reminding me that today is obviously a rest day for my body but everything else doesn't have to go down the drain.

Being honest, I did indulge in a few peanut butter filled pretzels and about 30 chocolate chips with a cup of hot tea, but I didn't eat the WHOLE bag of chocolate chips or 17 more pb filled pretzels. I will also count those calories. :)

I have several good friends whose lives are much more challenging than mine right now. Keeping perspective that yes, my life is hard today but other's need me to engage and encourage them more than I need to feel sorry for myself.

I copied this great mini-message from one of my favorite young pastors (Chris Lauri) off of his Facebook Status:
"Faith in Christ is not about becoming an island. Salvation is not a tropical getaway where we can retreat to focus on ourselves. Share the love and the grace you've been blessed with. "A man who isolates himself seeks his own desires." Proverbs 18:1"
My thoughts - even if your life isn't a tropical getaway, sharing the Love and Grace is essential to God's design in you!
So, aching hip, praying for my husband, snuggling with my boys, texting back and forth with a friend who needs encouragement, praying for another's new baby, praying for dear ones who just had to say good-bye to their wife & mom,  making wise choices in my eating and my parenting, responding to a mommy who wants to come to MOPS, listening to God's call to pray for businessmen in my community, are all the ways God is using me to BE His Love and Grace today. 
What are you "being" (not "doing") to someone today?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Why I MUST complete my weight loss/fitness goals

“I must complete my weight loss and fitness goals, because if I don’t…” is a prompt on my spark people "motivation" discussion. The team leader posted a quote from a podcast she heard - here is part of it: "Give yourself a minimum of 5 personal and important reasons why you must do this. You need to separate dreams and wants from things that you must do. If you can come up with 10 reasons why you must be successful, you will be twice as likely to be successful."

The idea of separating dreams and wants from the things I must do intrigues me. I don't know if I have ever thought about losing weight that way. 

Here is my attempt to do so...

I must complete my weight loss and fitness goals because if I don't I will spend the rest of my life regretting it.

I believe I was designed to be an athlete and then puberty, hormonal shifting and emotional eating took over. I don't think I leaned on food until we moved to Idaho and our super active southern Cali lifestyle came to a snow-covered, ice-laden, freezing-cold halt.

After 3 boys, a miscarriage, several dear friends unexpected departures to Heaven, battling Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.), and having a fairly sedentary lifestyle the pounds just keep adding up.

1) I must lose the weight because I need to LIVE every day to the best of my ability. Being overtired, overwhelmed, overloaded, overeating, prevents me from doing exactly that.

2) I must accomplish my fitness goals because I know I CAN. I have experienced an internal strength and tenacity I didn't know I had since I began working out.

3) I must attain the emotional and mental steadfastness that comes with not being ruled by lack of sleep, an unhealthy diet, and rampant cravings.

4) I must achieve my weight loss and fitness goals because anything less would be settling for second best. I have a good life. I have an awesome hubby, great kids, dear family, precious friends and to allow myself to settle for the "adequate" version of me is selling us all short on what God's design was for me and my life in the beginning.

5) I must make these changes because I really hate being run by anything that doesn't bring about LIFE. Being run by food, lack of fitness, and my emotions all leads to death or at best a complacent mind set. I want to be vibrant, fully loaded with the spectacular strength and tenacity I am capable of in order to be a completely relevant example of living life to the fullest!

That's it for now. But I will contemplate this further... without a doubt.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Me, Ben, Jerry and the Time Traveler’s Wife

It was our first camp out of the year.

My Love was off with his best buds for their annual camping weekend. He didn’t need to take our camper this year, so the kids and I decided to make use of it.

It was about 9:15pm when my youngest finally crashed into a coma, literally minutes before an amazing hurricane like storm blew through. As I listened to the wind whipping the torrential rain around our camper parked safely in our driveway, it dawned on me I had left several windows in the house open.

Feeling a little like Dorothy rushing home to Auntie Emm, I ran into the flying rain in my pajamas and zipped through the house closing windows as fast as I could, hoping some unexpected crash of thunder didn’t awaken my soundly sleeping bundles of energy.

On my way back to the camper I zipped into the garage to grab the pint of New York Super Fudge Chunk I picked up at the store as my final indulgence before returning to the no flour, no sugar eating plan I will start on Monday.

I was half-way through my frozen decadence before the ridiculous amount of previews was over and the actual movie started. I clicked on the “closed captioning” for the film because this was the first time I figured out that there is something really wrong with the audio on my CD-ROM. I am sure the irritation of the crackling interruption to the sound altered my cinematic experience.

But, I did gain a few bits of insight that I am willing to share:

-         1200 calories goes down very easily when it is creamy, chunky, nutty chocolaty goodness.
-         Lousy sound can be overcome by a really great story.
-         The Time Traveler’s Wife enlightened me on a few topics; time travel (always wanted to try it but I see now that it would be challenging if it was random and you show up everywhere naked), true love (she chose to love the dream and the reality – even when it was hard), quality time (it can be truly relative when you never know when or how long the Love of your life will be around).

Once it was over, I thanked God again for my Love (and our relatively normal life) and snuggled down in the springs of the mattress and the lumps of the camper pillow. I slept until...

  I was awakened at 4:15am by the sounds of our neighbor hitching up his boat to go fishing. I prayed my kids would sleep longer than the summer usual of 5:30, experienced annoying regret over eating the entire pint, and contemplated the value of time in my life.

Expanding on the value of time in my life will have to wait. It is 5:41am and two of my three are conscious and about to wake up my third…

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Endurance and My Birthday Present

I have two things to talk about today.

Last week I asked the Lord why it was SO irritating to me when the boys spilled something. My reaction seemed to be way over the top most of the time. It didn't make sense to me. After all, they are little kids and they do spill. Normal right?

Yes, that is right.

The word He whispered in my heart was endurance. I found this definition online - the ability or strength to continue or last, especially despite fatigue, stress, or other adverse conditions; stamina:

This season of my life is VERY messy. If I'm not cleaning messes, they are or I am trying to get them to pick up their messes, or dealing with the fallout of a mess - like spilling milk all over the table, shoes, jeans, shirt right before we have to leave for school. What frustrates me is the constant perpetual messes and the need for them to be cleaned up. 

I am thankful for my little "mess-makers" and I wouldn't trade them for a nice clean house any day, but I do grow weary of it. That is why I liked the definition so much. 

When God spoke to me about endurance, my attitude changed. After all, I have endured a lot of things in my life and "messes" are by far the smallest and easiest things to handle well, especially when you consider the high stakes of my child's heart. Since then, my response is not frustration (well, maybe a little bit-sometimes) but patience and tolerance for the learning curve they have. 

I forget that they are still learning to pour milk, eat dinner without elbows, plates or siblings crashing cups, and brush their teeth without gunking up the sink with toothpaste. I supervise all of this stuff, but let's face it, I am outnumbered and being everywhere at once is just not possible.  Now, I just clean, or help them clean thanking God for the little people He gave me to clean up after.

Speaking of Endurance...

For my birthday, I am going to do a small triathlon at the gym. There will be no timing chip, no transition area, just me, the gym, and 2 hours of child care for my youngest fella. 

My plan is to swim 400 yards (1/4mi approx), bike 8mi, and run 3mi. I may have to cut my run a little short just to make sure I get back to pick up my little prince within the allotted time, but I am going to go as far as I can. 

Why would I do this? Because I CAN. I am going to celebrate entering into my 40s with the strength and fitness I have been working so hard for in the past 2 - 3 years. 

Celebrate with me tomorrow by doing something active that is going to bless your body!  

Monday, May 16, 2011

Bumpy Day

 We all know that having a crappy day happens. It sucks, but it does. Yes, I am being non-classy in my word choice, please pardon my rough edges.

I have spent the last 10 days or so walking in this place of razor sharp discernment and wisdom. I have been hearing God's voice clearly and spoken many words of life into many hard situations and to precious people. I should have been ready when stuff went sideways, it often happens that way.

Marital communication breakdowns (yes, we all have them), kids dumping soap down sink drains while water is running foaming it to overflow, pouring water outside of the bathtub, soaking freshly laundered clothes, cleaning up the same mess 7 times in an hour, desperately longing to enjoy my fellas instead of discipline and train them in wise choice making, and trying to figure out how to deal with household maintenance concerns without disrupting anything major... it all adds up to one really stressed out Mommy.

But it didn't have to.

I have been exercising, eating right, praying, staying in the Bible, basically doing everything I know I should be doing for optimal results and yet, the enemy of my soul still managed to whisper a lie into my head that I believed...

"Nothing is ever going to change - you will never get organized, lose weight, be a great mom, make your husband happy... etc."

It is a lie. But I didn't shut it down and immediately speak the truth in my heart or out loud to blast it back to the dark territory it came from. So it festered like an infected wound for the last couple of days until it finally surfaced when a convergence of not terribly unusual circumstances reared their annoying but not disastrous heads.

THAT was when disaster struck.

Now that I have been prayed for (it takes a lot for me to post a "SOS" type status on my Facebook page), the fog is clearing and the truth is surfacing...

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (Amplified Bible)16Be happy [in your faith] and rejoice and be glad-hearted continually (always);    17Be unceasing in prayer [praying perseveringly];    18Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will].

Now, I personalized the above verse for my situation today:

I choose to be happy in my faith and rejoice and be glad-hearted continually (always), praying without ceasing and persevering in that prayer (even when the sink is foaming and the tub is being emptied manually), thanking God in my challenges of communicating in my marriage because I have a wonderful husband that loves me and his family and it will always be worth the trouble to sort out our misunderstandings. I will give thanks for my Love and the children I begged God for because it is His will for me to walk this road. I will learn I am not defined by my circumstances, He defines who I am. He is the revealer and mediator of His plan for my life. I can give thanks because God's perspective is much more broad and wise than my understanding of any of this. 

Thank you for your prayers. Please forgive the extra words, I am still not functioning on all cylinders. But God is good and I will be fine... now for a nap.

I must add - despite my momentary desire to bag my NO SUGAR eating plan due to today's stressors, I DID NOT CAVE!! I finally ate a wise portion of healthy food and leaned on my strategies to prevent failure instead of wiping out my vision for success. Yay! :)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Ironman 2016 Part 1

Yes, I said it, I threw it down like a promise and a threat.

I have spent months praying about whether or not this is a commitment I should make to myself or not. Should I tell anyone or not? I finally told my Love and my health coach.

A part of my weight loss process was to write a "Success Vision" - what happens when I reach my goals, what does my life look like when that happens. Here is what I wrote:

My success vision:

It was three weeks ago today that I stepped on the scale and saw the number I worked so hard for. The size clothes in my closet remind me it is true. When I look back I remember some of the pain of it all, but I mostly remember the blessing of the journey.

I let go of half of my body weight. It is strange to look in the mirror and barely remember what the other girl looked like. I never want to forget her. She is the one who worked so hard to get me to where I am today.

I have spent the last year working my body very hard. My heart and mind had to quit making excuses, reminding me that I was strong enough to finish this race. Along the way I was sure I’d never make it, but I kept practicing, improving my skills with consistent disciplined thinking and actions.

Six months from now I am scheduled to have the breast reduction surgery I have been waiting for since puberty! I am so excited to get these girls reigned in once and for all!

I enjoy stretching my cooking skills and navigating new cookbooks only to concoct my own amazing recipes. It always makes me smile when my “healthy” food is gone before Aunt Bessie’s fried chicken at the church potluck!

I raced my sons at the track today. They still think they can beat me, but at least for a few more years (before their legs are longer than mine!) I am faster. It cracks me up that the girl who said she would only run if chased is now the elementary school cross-country coach. Whodah thunk?

I am so thankful to finally have completed my teaching degree. The skills I learned while losing this weight really made a difference in my self-confidence in my practical application of the teaching credential and my study techniques. It is amazing how, once you have conquered one big thing in your life, you suddenly believe that anything is possible. Even graduating from college with kids in elementary school! (I have since decided this will wait until after Ironman- too much to do it at the same time)

Next month I will compete in my first Ironman. I have no doubt that as I swim, bike, and run I will recall all the miles it took to get me here. I look forward to my 45th birthday in a few days and know that this journey, though incredibly uncomfortable, was worth every second of effort. 

As you can see I have thought this through... now to walk it out, every day. One meal, one swim, bike, run, workout at a time.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Digging Deeper...

Today I spoke with my Health Coach Michelle (a service through my health insurance company). Once a week we discuss what I have been doing to reach my goals of healthy lifestyle and weight loss.

This week the conversation was a little hard to take. She and I have been talking weekly for seven months. She has been a consistent voice of encouragement, wisdom and challenge. But today was different.

Today she told me she thought I was settling for less than the best. I need to dig deeper to accomplish the results I really want. She said she felt I wasn't reaching my weight loss goals, not because I didn't have the right tools, but because I am not working hard enough consistently with them.

She is right.

I knew it when the tears popped from my eyes and my heart heard the truth in her words. She likened it to a person who didn't want to get hurt again in a relationship. I cried some more, not deep sobs of agony, just tears of a well aimed wisdom-arrow hitting the target of truth.

So, today, not a week from now, not tomorrow, I am digging deeper. Every rationalization for eating the things that don't bless my body has to go... every consideration of how far I've come and how "proud" I should be of myself for the changes I already have made, that is not enough.

I have to get more uncomfortable. Dig deeper within the resources God gave me to press in for the tangible evidence of all the hard work - weight loss. I have a healthy, slim, fit woman locked inside this body and she wants OUT! It is time to do what it takes to release her.

I know what it looks like to Dig Deep. I have experienced it before. I know I can do it. It is very uncomfortable in the transition, but worth the effort.

Her synopsis of our conversation (she emails me after our talks) included the following sentence, "You are so disciplined, full of heart and you are ready for the next level."

She is right! 

I will keep you posted on my progress. After all, this is what "Prism Progress" is all about! NOT Prism Maintenance or Prism Status Quo or Prism Retreat!!