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We are all athletes

Saturday, November 19, 2011

One of my favorite Spark calendar quotes is the one by George Sheehan, that says "Everyone is an athlete. The only difference is that some of us are in training and some are not." I was intrigued enough to look him up on Google, and I find that George Sheehan was a runner and a writer about running, among other things. Here's the Wikipedia entry I found.

What brought it to mind was a conversation that started at the gym last night. Being about a day behind in my training cycle, I was climbing on a spin bike on a night when there were no classes. As I started to crank up, a young man in one of the trainer shirts came up, pointed at my Mud Run t-shirt and asked whether I had participated in that run.

Of course I was happy to tell him that I did, and discovered that he, a personal trainer there at the gym, had also done the Mud run. In his case, it was in a banana suit (as part of one of those 3-person tied together teams). We ended up chatting for most of my workout, as I cranked the resistence up or down, stood on the pedals and dripped sweat.

We talked of athletic dreams. He pointed out one of the guys on a treadmill in the cardio theater and told me this gent was working on running a marathon in every state, and was up to something like 28 states. I had seen said gent in the weight room, pumping some serious iron. Matter of fact, most of the time when I'm in the free weights room, most of the folks around me are sweaty men, lifting serious iron. Hmmm. I must look pretty silly with my little dumbbells and lighter settings on the cable machine. But I do it.

Ryan (that's the trainer's name) tells me that he, too, is looking to do triathlons. He is doing a half Ironman distance one. He advised me to practice transitions, especially from bike to run, as one's legs get fatigued and it is a different motion... takes a bit to get your running legs under you. Good advice. I felt like I got some free training tips.

I came home to Spark after my workout and found someone else bubbling in her blog about how good it felt to been perceived as an athlete... and into my brain pops this quote. Her point was that she didn't do anything particularly dramatic to become an athlete. She just started being more active and making better choices in her eating... she started Sparking! This is open to everyone.

I agree. We won't all be stars on the track. Some of us may be limited by conditions beyond our control. But we can all become the best us we can be. And what I am finding is that the effort is what is respected by those stars... the kids who are winning the golds respect the back of the pack who are out there putting forth the effort! I don't think I ever "got that" as a kid who was picked last for sports teams. Maybe it is that all of us have matured since then.

Here is to the community of athletes... to the respect we bear one to another... and that "we" includes every one of you reading this, whether you know it or not... at the beginning of your journey, nearing the end, in maintenance, or even backsliding. Just for today, keep a training promise to yourself. You're worth it!

Life's good. Spark on! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CONCHA77 11/25/2011 8:45AM

    As always, Great Blog. Makes so much sense!
You should be a writer. emoticon

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_LINDA 11/24/2011 11:08AM

    Wonderful blog! Loved the trainer spent some time with you and gave some great tips -I can't imagine that happening much elsewhere. As one of those picked last for teams in school, and destined to always be at the back of the back, never being able to advance, I have to say making this crappy body perform to the best of its ability is just me setting that inner athlete free...

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DEBRA0818 11/21/2011 8:28AM

    For sure our bodies are meant to move and if we do so move them we are become more athletic and eventually begin thinking of ourselves this way. I always thought of myself like that when I was younger; no reason not to think that way again!


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KALIGIRL 11/19/2011 4:50PM

    Here's to being the best we can be!

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MNTWINSGAL 11/19/2011 11:39AM

    Great blog Barb...Love your insights!

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 11/19/2011 10:53AM

    I had the fleeting thought that I was an athlete last year when I started my walking program. I'd be embarassed as joggers ran past me. But it occurred to me that I was doing the best I could and that compared to where I was a few months earlier, I had made progress and was therefore an athlete. It's easy to lose that train of thought as life happens. Thanks for the reminder.

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DEBRITA01 11/19/2011 9:03AM

    I like this blog. We may not perceive ourselves to be athletes at all. But striving to be the best that we can be is enough. By doing that, we can all be winners.

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MSLZZY 11/19/2011 7:47AM

    Wise observations and a very positive attitude! Thanks for sharing! HUGS!

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MILLERGIRL719 11/19/2011 7:38AM

    I can so relate! Very good blog! Nicely done! Thanks!

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Presents to oneself... a.k.a. rewards

Friday, November 18, 2011

We all live on budgets, right? Losing weight usually means some of our wardrobes become, uh, "loose". But, not being infinitely wealthy, it takes time to replace them. Priorities being what they are, the work wardrobe comes first. The workout wardrobe helps support staying the new size, so it's up there, too. (Doesn't have to be fancy, but *does* have to not get in the way!)

Undies? Essential! Clothing for special events (like weddings)... just has to be fit in.

The last domino to fall for me? Sleepwear! Two years ago, when I had the parathyroid surgery, I bought a pair of pajamas that fit me THEN. But I dropped another 25 pounds in the next year. And I hadn't bought a new robe... I was still slopping around in one that had belonged to my mother (she's been gone 15 years now... you get the idea). It too had become far too large for my shrinking frame.

I'll be celebrating another trip around the sun in a few days. Yesterday was mom's birthday. How appropos that the package from L. L. Bean arrived yesterday... flannel p.j.'s, a new robe, and fleece lined slippers. I tried them on... they are "small"... and they fit. When I woke this morning and found that I didn't have to cinch in the drawstring... ahhh!

Yes, I feel pampered and rewarded. And this, too, is important to success in maintaining healthy habits.

Life's good... Spark on! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

_LINDA 11/24/2011 10:42AM

    Awesome treat! A well earned reward indeed! I still have the flannel robe I have and fits okay, one size fits all, it was in leopard print and matched the wonderful flannels I had with it, but long since worn out and long gone. I have never found flannels that nice again, and lounge in fleece wear now. Cheap on sale stuff, factory seconds I got from a grocery store. But nice and cozy :)

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MILLERGIRL719 11/19/2011 2:45PM

    We should all treat ourselves!

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KARIDIAN1 11/18/2011 5:38PM

    What a nice way to reward yourself!

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KALIGIRL 11/18/2011 8:49AM

    Love it! Just in time for the change in weather - here's to those fun and health filled trips around the sun!

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MSLZZY 11/18/2011 7:49AM

    Great! Make time to pamper yourself and be comfotable. My bathrobe needs to be replaced-maybe a hint to Santa is in order. HUGS!
Congrats on the small size-that must feel good!

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Oh My Goodness!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

I had forgotten how HUGE a high a morning workout gives me. See those bubbles? Soda is NO match for endorphin bubbles.

A good night's sleep, a morning workout, and a healthy breakfast... I feel like the world is open and ANYTHING is possible. It does mess with the steel cut oats timing, though, so mornings I do this I will have to have different breakfast arrangements. This morning it was grape juice, a blueberry muffin (small) and skim milk.

No promises this will continue once the snow starts flying around here, but this morning? As a plan B? Um... I may have rediscovered an addictive practice.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MILLERGIRL719 11/21/2011 6:59PM

    I prefer morning workouts. I'm a morning person. However, school starts too early to work a workout in there, too (I work at a school.)

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LJCANNON 11/18/2011 7:33AM

    emoticon emoticonMorning WorkOuts are my Favorite!!

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WATERMELLEN 11/17/2011 8:14PM

    Nice! The sunshine in the pool helps a lot!!

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FITGRL124 11/17/2011 1:01PM


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BUGGYS 11/17/2011 12:09PM

    Love a morning workout but it's been tough for me at 5am...need to be more consistent!

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 11/17/2011 10:01AM

    Excellent! I love hearing that "high" in your "voice." Here's an idea -- how about cooking your steel cut oats for dinner the night before your morning workout? Consider it a form of carbo-loading for your intense workout. . . .

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_LINDA 11/17/2011 8:46AM

    Well done!! Always had a soft spot for morning exercise, it just jump starts the day right!!
Tip: you can always prepare a batch of your oats ahead of time, then nuke a portion, works well!

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KALIGIRL 11/17/2011 8:12AM

    emoticon Here's to that morning high!

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MSLZZY 11/17/2011 7:49AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Always have a plan B

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Yesterday I wrote about keeping those small promises so we have the momentum to keep the larger ones. Today my after-the-work-day pep talk is about having a plan B, in case the prime objective gets derailed by what we sometimes refer to as "life happening".

I kept my promise to do a weight training workout after work yesterday. Today was the annual chili cookoff at work. I wasn't planning on having a competitive entry this year, but I couldn't really come up with a proper side dish to take in, either.

What I ended up taking as my contribution was a crock of split pea soup I made last weekend! Funny thing, many people saw the green pot, assumed it to be really spicy, and didn't interpret it as split pea soup at all. Some didn't even try it. Still, it got eaten, which was the goal.

Tonight I was going to swim after work... but as I drove toward the gym it became apparent to me that this was probably not the best way to spend the immediate after work hour on chili cookoff day. 'Nuff said. I came home. Glad I did because one of the kittens had managed to trap herself in the bathroom with the litter box, by closing the door (probably chasing a jingle ball) essentially trapping her brother OUTSIDE of the litter box room!

Which brings us to plan B. I am a classic morning person. The gym (and pool) opens at 5 a.m. Hee-hee. So, I have now packed tomorrow's breakfast AND lunch, and am thinking early bedtime tonight, followed by early up and have breakfast after that swim... as a morning workout instead.

See? Plan B. Take care of those rocks. The pebbles and sand will take care of themselves.

Life's good. Spark on! emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

_LINDA 11/17/2011 9:03AM

    This is why you are so successful at maintaining. You always think things through and analyze the best way to get things done! You are a great role model!!

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MNTWINSGAL 11/17/2011 12:33AM

    Great idea! I used to be a morning person too....wish I could get back into it! My problem: I stay up too late. Now really! It's 11:30 pm. Go to bed, Sharon! Barb will be up in a few hours and headed to the gym!

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KARIDIAN1 11/17/2011 12:13AM

    Plan B is essential! Not everyone believes in planning ahead or evening thinking two steps ahead. Sometimes I think I work with those people all the time.

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 11/16/2011 11:17PM

    A good lesson to learn. Excellent plan, Barb!

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MSLZZY 11/16/2011 10:54PM

    You are so wise and have such a great way of putting things into perspective.
Always have a Plan B!

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DEBRITA01 11/16/2011 8:27PM

    Always good to have a Plan B...enjoy your morning swim! emoticon

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FITFABJENN 11/16/2011 8:14PM

    Love the part about the rocks. You rock, lady!

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WATERMELLEN 11/16/2011 7:56PM

    Split pea soup: love the stuff!!

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HOT4FITNESS 11/16/2011 7:53PM

    Well said Sparkfriend.

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Promises to keep

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I've long observed that the most empowering thing I can do is to keep a small (or large) promise to myself. The small ones are in fact more important, because they maintain momentum to meet the larger ones.

Pulling myself back up by the bootstraps on Monday, I vowed that I would work out after work, NO MATTER WHAT! I put together in my mind the plan: Monday treadmill run, Tuesday back to the weight training, it should not be as punishing as Friday's workout was, the second time through the workout. Wednesday swim as reward. Thursday spin class. Friday, weights again, so that Saturday becomes a rest day... i.e. walking only.

It was so important to get the training cycle off to a good start. And then my work day slopped over. Only by half an hour, but what a difference that half hour makes in attitude.

As I directed the automobile away from work, I had to talk to myself the entire way, about that promise keeping, and the importance of getting back on the routine. If I have any hope of remaining fit through the Winter, I have to make this adjustment!

I talked myself into allowing the treadmill workout to be at home. "BUT YOU HAVE TO ACTUALLY DO IT!" I firmly told myself.

Got home, got inside... immediately changed to running togs. As in immediately! Read e-mail. Saw there was one that merited a phone call, but firmly put it off. Got up on Ariel, the siren treadmill, flipped on an old episode of Numb3rs, slapped on my heart rate monitor, and got in a good workout. Had to slow to a fast walk several times as the heart rate monitor nagged at me... but I DID IT!

Showered, had a healthy supper, and made the phone call... and all the time, the drumbeat of a promise kept reminded me: I CAN do it. And I'm worthy of the effort.

Remember that old deal with the jar, the rocks, the pebbles and the sand? Let's remember that promises to ourselves are the rocks... keep those promises, and the pebbles and sand will fill in the gaps!

Life's good. Spark on. emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

_LINDA 11/17/2011 9:05AM

    Way to go Barb! I sure know I need to work on keeping promises to myself!! Another great thought provoking blog!!

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BUGGYS 11/15/2011 3:32PM

    I need to keep the promises I've made to myself!!! The reminder is just what I needed today...once again...thanks, Barb!!! emoticon

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KALIGIRL 11/15/2011 11:58AM

    Wonderful as usual - love your commitment!

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BESTSUSIEYET 11/15/2011 10:02AM

    Fabulous! Thanks for putting a fresh perspective on this journey! You are a STAR in my book!

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 11/15/2011 9:57AM

    Way to go, Barb! Sometimes the hardest part of the workout is convincing yourself that you really do want to do it. I'm glad you found the strength within to follow through with the promise to yourself.

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DEBRITA01 11/15/2011 8:35AM

    Keeping the promises we make to ourselves is just as important as they ones we make to others. I often forget that...thanks for the gentle reminder. Way to go for remembering to take care of yourself! emoticon

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MSLZZY 11/15/2011 7:14AM

    What a great way to look at it. Make a promise to yourself and keep it! You are an inspiration! HUGS!

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KASEYCOFF 11/15/2011 7:10AM

    Yes, hon, you are soooo right! Not only are promises to ourselves a top priority, but I totally agree that the little ones are as crucial as the 'biggies.'

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