Wednesday, July 27, 2011
It rained overnight. When I stepped out on my deck this morning, I saw a whole raft of weeds that had appeared seemingly overnight in the cracks on my patio. I decided my "one thing" this morning would include pulling a few of them. The soft, moist ground made extracting them fairly easy. There was this surge of "I did it" good feeling, immediate. Why? Because I truly dislike yard work... and when I do something I dislike, in a small amount, see the good result, and pat myself on the back, I feel a surge of victory.
Doing well in the 5K was a thrill of victory... but athletic competition is not the only way to get that feeling of living victoriously. Every day victories need to be recognized, cherished, and celebrated. Keeping small promises to oneself is the most empowering thing there is. So when you *do* the ten minutes of strength training, when you decide to have a smaller portion or make a healthier choice in a restaurant, when you alter a recipe to make it better for your family... toot your horn, if only to yourself.
Celebrate living your life victoriously. You are worth it!
Life's good. Spark on!
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
The gal who hates finish lines is here... with a little reverie over "when is a finish line NOT a finish line"? When it is a transition! Just about everything that "feels like a finish line" with a little bit of insight and work, can be seen as some kind of transition... because "there is no finish line".
Life has dozens if not hundreds, thousands, or millions of these transitions.
There are the tiny daily ones: bed to up and awake. From home to work mode, and vice versa. From one task to the next. In school, changing classes. In books, chapters, changes to a different set of characters or plot lines.
There are the annual ones: changing of the seasons, planting and harvest, Holidays, vacations.
There are the major life ones: Graduation from a given level of school, moving on to the next or to a working life. Marriage. Addition of members to the family (furry ones, too). Loss of loved ones. Kids growing up and moving out. Health issues or injuries.
There are major lifestyle (or financial) changes that can give pause: getting, losing, or changing jobs, moving to a new house or apartment. Downsizing, upsizing, relocating.
These changes happen to us all. They are a part of life. They shape us as we adapt to them.
Now take a look at the changes in your life and where you put health and fitness in your list of priorities as these changes occurred. Did you (as I did) leave it off the list of priorities? Drop it to the bottom of the list (just until this crisis is past)? Wish for it, but not act on the wish?
What brought you to Spark? It wasn't just that you heard about it from a friend, or saw an ad... there was a motivation inside you that said "I have to do something about my life, health, fitness"... and you came. Will you stay, through all the rest of life's transitions? Will you keep the Spark alive?
Life's good... Spark on!
Monday, July 25, 2011
Another photo from the triathlon on Sunday. This one shows people in transition.
The young woman in turquoise / blue is one of the juniors, transitioning from her bike ride to her run, pulling her hair down and headed for that blue archway where the run begins. The one in hot pink is one of the adults, transitioning from swim to bike, on her way to the bike starting line.
Transitions in a triathlon are very specific, but we have many transitions in the larger sense of life. Whatever change comes our way, we need to transition to whatever new routine will support that change. There are short transitions and long ones. Some can be planned for, others not so much.
The triathletes who think ahead and have everything laid out to make for a smooth transition shave vital seconds off their race time if the race is a close one. In life, some transitions can be similarly planned for and laid out... adding a new job? Changing schedules? Think ahead and plan for how you'll handle it without undermining your larger goal of living healthy... will you carry your lunch to work? Will you alter the time of your workouts? Will you take breaks? Stretch at your desk if it is a sedentary job?
Things can be unpredictable in transitions. A competitor has to be able to alter plans without becoming ruffled. Shoelace break? Having trouble finding the clip on the bike pedal... take the time to adjust and fix it, and your race goes smoother.
Life's journey has many transitions... here's to not letting them frustrate us, but to resiliently making them and getting into the rhythm for the next phase as smoothly as we can. It may be difficult (I know it often is for me)... but it is well worth it!
Life's good. Spark on!
Sunday, July 24, 2011
I just had the best morning. No, I did not run another race... this time I took my camera with me and walked over the the venue where the State Games was having the Triathlon competition.
In case anybody who reads these has been living under a rock and doesn't know what a triathlon is, it combines a swim, a bike ride, and a running event, all into the same race. In between the events is "transition", where the swimmer changes into the biker, and the biker into the runner, and starts the next event in the sequence. That said, here are a few shots of the Juniors, for whom this was a qualifying event for "real" events later in the year.
First swimmer got out (0.47 mile swim) when the clock said:
Here he is starting his bike ride:
At the end of his first loop of the ride (there were three loops around the outer perimeter of the park containing the lake where the swim was done all the way out to the Library I sometimes walk to, adding to a total of 20K / 12 miles):
Him again, returning after the third lap:
Starting his 5K run:
And coming on toward the finish line. I missed the clock, the shot was badly lighted, but he did this all in an hour and eight minutes and change. Amazing performance for a 16 year old. His 14 year old sister finished ten minutes behind him, and his nearest competition 8 minutes.
Next year? May...be me as a participant? May...be... that's a huge time commitment to train. We'll see... but some of you all know about me and my bucket list... a TRI is on it.
Oh, and as a spectator, I put in 15,000 steps, moving from spot to spot to snap my photos and cheer the athletes on.
Saturday, July 23, 2011
I've been whining about and questioning my sanity in signing up for the Cornhusker State Games 5K for however long it's been since my son talked me into it. Last night was the night.
We got to the Minor League ball park where the event was starting and finishing way early. I follow directions well... when they tell me to show up early, I do. So we had a lot of hanging around time watching them prepare the ball park for the baseball game that would be concurrent to the run.
Interestingly enough, they are featuring their Friday home games as "fitness Fridays". You know the drill, "T-Shirt Tuesdays"... etc. Well, it's Fitness Fridays. Which made a great tie-in for the State Games to start their 5K between the two ball parks and finish inside the stadium itself.
We stood in respect as the national anthem started off the ball game, then lined up for the 7:30 p.m. start to the footrace. I spotted HOT4FITNESS and her husband, and introduced my son, who had missed meeting her at the Half Marathon since I'd so badly estimated our performance and finish time.
It started rather abruptly with an air horn. Large group of runners began that slow-motion start. It was HOT in the setting sun, but there was a good breeze, especially inside the stadium. Son promised to run "mom's race", staying with me to prod me on. Jogged until the first water station, which was beyond mile 1. I dropped to a walk telling son that I would walk through the hydration... and I really needed the water by then. Didn't matter how much I took on earlier in the day. I walked several more times, but each time I did, I got recovery and started jogging again.
The hardest part was getting back into the stadium around that huge concrete parking lot, radiating heat absorbed during the day. I was speed walking at the turn back toward the stadium, and the workers said something nice about my form. Pride puffed me up as there was a photographer along the sidewalk along the outside of the stadium leading around toward the finish line. Guess who started jogging yet again? I finished in 32:51. This is not a personal best, but I figured it's pretty respectable for me under the conditions. I was NOT going to kill myself for this race.
Son was right behind me at the finish, pushing me on. We returned our timing chips, hydrated, stretched, and walked around, cooling off. I had to go get a paper towel from the women's room, as I was dripping sweat into my eyes! But it felt good. We did it!
We each had a hot dog... probably my one concession to that particular nutritionally suspect food for the year... it tasted wonderful in the aftermath of the run. Then they started announcing the finishers. First the overall winners, male and female. We're talking 16:30 (almost half my time) for the fastest finisher overall... young men, obviously fit and serious runners. You know there are a whole lot of serious runners out there, but the State Games are a special deal: more to promote activity for the joy of activity than a competition for the elite.
They also do the age/gender division awards... and they started with the youngest runners. We applauded and oohed over the times as they handed out the medals. As they got to my son's age division the times were awesome... I think the three top finishers in that age group were within seconds of one another.
When they got to the 40 something females, the times started sounding more reasonable... and my son kind of joked at me that I could be among the top finishers in my division. I discounted this at once, knowing we have a number of "real runners" in town. You could have knocked me over when they said, "Females, 55 - 59" and announced my name as "first place". O-M-G! So, when you see the photo, there is this look of amazement on my face.
This "tough old bird" is now in possession of a gold medal. And can't stop grinning. Who'd have thought?
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