I am spending time with family. I often wish I could bring all members of my family together, in-laws and all. But I am grateful for the faces I see today and not even feeling the slightest hint of bitterness about what I have left to do to complete day 74. One more workout and a few ounces of water left will have it all done. Since I am sitting passenger side and on the way back home, I am keeping this short. I don’t want to miss many more moments.
I decided to take it a bit easier on my second workout today. After last night’s class, walking this morning and what felt like a particularly active day at work, I decided to not beat my body up with another strength class this evening. I do have a 5:30am tomorrow.
As I am writing this, I am almost in disbelief that today is Day 60 of 75hard. I have never worked out for 60 days straight in my life, let alone twice a day. And a gallon of water everyday, too? Nope! It also makes me realize how much can change in 2 months.
For me, the biggie is committing to completing the Trifecta but also going through workshop facilitation training to begin teaching in January and moving forward with the print version of my book.
I wish I had a way to compare brain scans from early September to now. Since I don’t have access to that, I am happy to settle for how I felt then versus now. I know too much about what I can do and how I can be to turn back. I think that knowledge is going to carry me through the rest of this challenge and onward.
I will carry it with me teaching my first class, leading my first workshop, selling my book and throughout all three races.
When the inevitable darker moments visit and the voice that sounds exactly like me threatens to sabotage everything, I will lean on these memories, draw from this well.
Today was long. I showed up to an appointment a day early across town after work which I have never done. I had nothing left in me to cook. I am sore. Against my better judgement, I watched a YouTube video entitled “Spartan Race Tips for Beginners: Will You Die?”
The content actually was helpful but my anxiety was present and accounted for the entire time. I know what I committed to. The doubts and fears are natural. There will be days like today where I don’t want to complete the second workout and curling up on the couch with soup and watching “Love Jones” for the 3,000th time is my idea of active. (No worries. I got it all done). Those feelings may not let go until I cross the finish line.
So I am going to treat this like the first time I hit “Publish” on a post, walked to the start line at a 10k and into a college classroom after I transferred to a Shenandoah University as a 21-year old freshman.
There was everything and nothing to fear all at the same time.
Have you ever been presented with something that challenges the very idea of who you thought you were?
That happened this past Monday when podcast host Jonathan Frederick (Heart Healthy Hustle) posted an opportunity on Instagram. He interviewed Spartan race founder, Joe De Sena and a challenge was issued. Anyone who wants to complete the Trifecta in 2020 (Sprint, Super and Beast) has one week from the airing (11/4) to email Joe and Jonathan to sign up and all three entry fees will be covered by Joe himself!
When Jonathan posted about it, I congratulated him on the partnership and was content to leave it at that. But then, he replied “you in?”
Once I got a few more details about the time (can complete all three at any point in 2020), something in me told myself not to shut it down despite many things:
I don’t have a trainer.
I have never run an obstacle course before.
I am at least 80 lbs overweight.
I never thought of myself as an athlete.
I don’t know if I can find anyone to do it with me.
I have never liked weightlifting.
I can’t do a pull up.
So despite all of those things, I picked up the phone and scheduled a session with a trainer. Despite all of those things, I showed up.
The trainer put all my fears to rest. Even after completing my inbody assessment, she seemed more delighted by my muscle mass and deadlifting than discouraged by weight. She wasn’t discouraged at all.
When all was said and done, I start tomorrow. Training 4 times a week, finally incorporating stretching and continuing to track my food and pound my water. Even though 75hard has a phase that comes after this, running these races feels like what comes after for me. It set me up to believe this was a possibility for me.
Possibility is hope. Possibility is leading me to believe I can mold myself into a true athlete, a competitor and someone I might not soon recognize- a Spartan.
I woke up and wanted to run today. Even as I saw the temperature was at freezing and the bed was calling, there was something greater in me this morning telling me I had to move.
My run may resemble more of a slow jog but one day that won’t be the case. I will find that my willingness to drag this body out of the bed into the frigid cold daily will mean discipline and showing my entire being the love it so richly deserves.
Today, I was discussing possible opportunities to participate in a physical competition and to follow through on a writing collaboration I’ve been dreaming about for many months. It was pointed out to me that not executing on either one of those things might mean playing small.
Playing small, minimizing, hiding all mean the same thing.
Another year of an unrealized me.
Another year of doors I tell myself I cannot open.
I debated whether I would take the challenge this year. It would be my third year participating in bloglikecrazy (created by See Jane Write founder Javacia Harris Bowser) but beyond talking about 75hard, an upcoming birthday and time spent with family, I didn’t feel like I had 30 days in me this year.
And then I took a walk.
I slept in and decided to go to a local park for my first workout of the day. It was much cooler than previous mornings but I was grateful for the ample sunshine. I noticed the parking lot was full for a Friday morning. I saw a group of well dressed people gathered on a landing overlooking the lake. A few of them smiled at me.
By the time I walked another lap, I saw the group surrounding a slender woman with a beautiful afro in a silky emerald dress and a white fur shawl draped around her shoulders holding hands with a man, presumably her groom.
As I continued to walk around the park, I walked with more intensity, buoyed by the sight of an unanticipated wedding.
I realized blogging (for me) has always been a place to share not just the musings and thoughts about writing, plant-based living and mindset but a record of the beautiful, the random and the unexpected.
This past weekend, I attended the 2019 James River Writers Conference. I walked in this year feeling different. I didn’t care I didn’t have a book to pitch and all I wanted was to hear about was quality writing in all of the many forms it takes. I took some notes but I realized what I needed was to be around other writers.
I needed to catch up and laugh with some of my friends.
I needed to be reminded to set aside time for myself each week to put pen to paper and let this particular truth deliver a gut punch: I shouldn’t be devoting more time to my blog than to all my other writing.
Which is exactly what I have been doing for several months now.
Every novelist, screenwriter, memoirist, short story writer, journalist, poet and agent reminded me that there was story still beating inside of me.
The keynote speaker, the incomparable Marita Golden, emboldened us to celebrate ourselves as writers even if we are not published or under contract. This wise woman had me at the edge of my seat telling us how she had been birthed twice. Once on the day of her actual birth and again when her mother told her she was a writer. I also was blessed to hear her on the panel discussing memoir.
Marita shared that sometimes you need to write the memoir to free yourself to write fiction. The vulnerability in memoir panel impacted me emotionally the most. I love how they brought three writers with wildly different tales to share their points of view. I wish I could take classes regularly from Marita Golden (Migrations of the Heart), Mary Bonina (My Father’s Eyes) and Jon Pineda (Sleep in Me).
A special note about this year’s conference: It was beautiful to see the level of cultural diversity this year. James River Writers Conference has come light years in this respect, especially since my first year as an attendee in 2016. Thanks to the chair, Robin Farmer and co-chair Sonia Johnston for not only creating a conference that ignited my fire to devote more time to my craft but for creating an experience where I had the distinct pleasure of seeing faces that reflected the real world around us.
What if no one wants to buy it or display it in their stores?
These (and a few more) were some of the ugly (and natural) fears and questions that came up as I searched sites to determine what I need to buy to get this book distributed.
Then another thought came to me while in the throes of this panic.
The only way is through.
After a much needed counseling session, I accepted I will make some mistakes and maybe a few more dollars will be spent than I anticipated but that’s OK.
I won’t break because of a mistake. I was dramatizing, almost seeing a possible failure like an ancient seaside castle crumbling into the ocean. My first real foray into self-publishing will be a success not only because I believe the people who need it will love it but because I will have gone all the way through.
I have heard several thought leaders proclaim it would be a shame if you are the same person this year that you were last year. They might be right and even if they are not, I don’t want to be exactly the same.
Which is why going through 75hard is non-negotiable as is the book as is creating solo adventures for me, myself and I.
I am on Day 9 of the 75hard challenge. After just over a week, I was already presented with my first obstacle. On my outdoor walk on Friday, I started experiencing pain in my left ankle and that continued to annoy me into the weekend but I persevered. I chose to wear an ankle brace and did indoor weight training for 45 minutes for my second workout the last couple of days.
Before starting the challenge, I intentionally stayed away from the scale. I chose to get on last Monday morning to have another way to measure progress. This Monday showed a 4.6 lb weight loss. I am proud of it but what really made me happy was having more room in my jeans and being able to go bowling comfortably. I was also happy to see I was able to accomplish this even as my cycle started on Sunday morning.
I also love knowing I have a friend who is keeping me accountable. Just seeing a text message with a progress picture or a workout update drives me to keep up and be a source of support to her, too. Hubby also continues to fill up my gallon water each day, too. I also developed a new habit. I am using the Lose It app to track my food. I have tracked calories in the past but I never liked it before. I used to resent it. I think it’s because I had a trainer checking it and now I am completely responsible, the only judge of what I choose to put in my body.
I noticed it’s starting to bleed into other areas. I am finally turning “What I Love About You: A Guided Journal to Writing Your Proposal and Vows” into a paper version which will be ready by next week. I am ready to approach wedding vendors in person and online. I was tired of talking about it and this challenge is showing me how much action truly matters.
It’s the only thing that matters.
Words are nice but sometimes that’s all they are.
And I am truly tired of my words meaning something else: Broken promises to myself.
But enough words.
I have a second workout to complete, pages to read, water to drink and my day 9 picture to take.
This past weekend, I went to Vegfest with hubby. It was a cornucopia of vegan soul food, burgers, sweets, Thai and Caribbean food. A friend of mine performed with her belly dancing group. It was a lot of fun and our burgers with slaw and vegan Mac lived up to its delicious promise.
Vegan burger with slaw
Hubby enjoying his gluten free mac
However, I knew this weekend was going to be a last hurrah of sorts. A good friend of mine and I decided to start the #75 hard challenge created by Andy Frisella.
Here are the basic rules:
1. 2 45-minute workouts: at least one of them has to be outdoors.
2. Stick to whatever diet you’ve chosen: no junk food, no alcohol and no cheating!
3. Drink a gallon of water a day.
4. Read 10 pages of a non-fiction/personal development book each day.
5. Take a progress picture everyday.
And if you mess up on even one, you have to start again at Day 1! Intense!
Our lunch was on Friday and we vowed to begin on Monday. So with that in mind, I blew it out this past weekend. But there was one thing I watched that reminded me how important it was to keep this upcoming commitment: Brittany Runs a Marathon.
I may not drink or pop pills but the cholesterol is a bit high and I am not trying to add anything else to the list. I felt convicted to change after my last doctor visit. I am motivated more than ever to complete this and get a clean bill of health at my next appointment in February. By the time the movie was over, I was in tears. I knew I didn’t want to let it be a fleeting moment of inspiration. I wanted the results and the mental toughness cultivated to get there.
So here I am on Day 2. Tired but ready to tackle my second workout of the day. Tired but ready to guzzle the last of this gallon and read those 10 pages.
Wish me luck on the next 73!
When was the last time you set a challenge and saw it all the way through?