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?
Friday, July 22, 2011
When I was growing up, I was part of a group of five siblings. My mother was a talker (you KNEW I got it from somewhere) and there wasn't a one of us five who didn't know what our teachers said about us in conference.
One of mom's favorite kind of story to share would be about going to meet some teacher or another and having the conference about one or another of us kids, hearing something good about us (of course telling us just what good thing it was, to reinforce it), and commenting, "are we talking about the same kid"? Which is the *real* identity? As in yesterday's blog... both are the same kid.
My son explained it to me, years later. The phenomenon of why children behave so much more responsibly for people other than their parents is really pretty simple, his ten year old self said. "You HAVE to love me, no matter what. My teachers don't." I could go into that being an accolade for getting the message across about unconditional love, but it would be a digression.
Yesterday's blog about among other things, my nature as a compulsive eater elicited a comment from KALIGIRL, whom I met for the first time in real life last weekend: "but you seem so easy and self-assured..." Becky, so do you! You're an amazing woman.
Yes, we are talking about the same kids. You met me while I am living abstinent. It is similar to the difference between the sober and the binging alcoholic. I once heard a fellow traveler comment (about her abstinence) that she could not live the life she was currently living without it. I recognize how right that statement was.
I like me a whole lot better abstinent. It is my hope and prayer to live this way for the rest of my life. To be given the willingness to do so, one decision at a time. It does not require perfection, but it does require vigilance.
Life's good. Spark on!
Thursday, July 21, 2011
I recently got a comment from a Spark friend on my "before" photo in my gallery, to the effect that she had no idea I'd come so far... we had mainly "seen" one another on a community board where we might talk more about activity and family things than about weight loss.
An interesting thing about meeting new people is that they see your "outside" and make assumptions based on what they see. If you are currently thin and fit, they may easily assume you have always been relatively thus.
On the other hand, from the "inside", you know your own history. You are still adjusting to your "new" size, for some time after changing it. You know how many rides on the roller coaster you have taken, and may have confidence issues.
This usually isn't a problem, until you overhear and take to heart comments that are sometimes made by those (thankfully not as many as you think) folks who don't "get it". There will always be days when I think of myself as this:
If you met me back then, you would have found me huffing and puffing and wishing that skirt was not so tight. I have come down from there (all the way there) twice. I have come down from somewhere in between probably three times in addition.
Today, I feel good about me. Today I truly see myself as this:
Folks who meet me now don't know. Folks who have known me in both extremes do know. Me? I know now that I am both... this is the difference between the disease of compulsive eating being in charge, and a higher power blessing me with abstinence from the compulsion. One day at a time.
Spark helps. Healthy living programs help. But all in all... you have to follow those programs, and light that Spark. Motivation and action are gifts of grace.
Life's good. Spark on!
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