75Hard Recap

75Hard Recap

It’s Day 76. 75hard is over which means I accomplished the following:

150 workouts (mostly walks but many strength training workouts)

Drank 75 gallons of water

IMG_20191130_125908.jpg

Stuck to my diet (calorie counting for me) using the Lose It app.

Lost over 20 pounds.

Read over 750 pages of personal development books.

IMG_20191130_125018.jpg

No alcohol (I already didn’t drink)

I recapped more of the emotional side yesterday and I have said it before but it bears repeating:

I am less afraid.

The thing I thought I would be more fearful of was what to do next but it’s clear I had nothing to fear. Today, I went to a small group workout, took a walk and along with Hubby and a friend, climbed for the first time at an indoor gym.

IMG_20191130_142807

 

IMG_20191130_143742_1.jpg

Even though the mental transformation far outweighs the physical, here are a couple of pictures to showcase that aspect:

IMG_20191130_175546
Today and August 2019
IMG_20191130_171604
Day 75 vs Day 1

I feel more confident about the next steps I am taking. If anyone is wondering if I would do it again, the answer is a resounding Yes. If anyone is doubting if they can do it, please don’t. The old saying is true: You will find the time for the things that matter to you.

One last note.

I loved that unintentionally the bloglikecrazy challenge came at the same time I was winding down with 75hard. I have a record of these last 30 days which included teacher training, strength classes, a fulfilling writing intensive and the introduction of the idea that I will one day be a Spartan and a Strongwoman.

 

All Done

All Done

There will be more reflection tomorrow but I have to acknowledge I made it to Day 75!

I both completely believe it and have a sense of disbelief that it’s almost done. I just have a few more ounces of water, dinner to track and I will close my eyes to wake up to Day 76.

I keep thinking about Friday, September 13th. I was at lunch with my friend explaining the challenge to her, asking if she’d like to join me. We agreed to start on Monday the 16th. That could have given me pause right there–starting on a Monday. How many times had I said that?

But this time was different. I didn’t have a special restrictive diet or fast to stick to and this was more about developing mental toughness which I lacked.

The morning of Monday, September 16th came. I was in bed, contemplating an excuse to not start and then my friend sent a text. I saw her name but didn’t read it. Seeing her name was the impetus for me to roll out of bed, get dressed and take my first walk in the neighborhood. It wasn’t until I was out there that I opened the text. It was a picture of her and a message saying her first workout was done. My response: “Yes! Doing first workout now!”

I know she’ll read this and see I might have sabotaged myself on yet another Monday if she hadn’t been stronger than me that day.

So I thank her for being my partner. I thank my husband for filling up gallon water bottles, packing lunches, taking pictures and pushing me on the days when the second workout ended up beginning later than anticipated.

I owe gratitude to all the people who supported me and to God, whom I prayed to repeatedly asking for strength to finish and for a host of other things during this time.

No more words tonight.

Tomorrow may be day 76 and the challenge is over but I have a walk I want to take and a small group workout I will choose to participate in.

Because this is only the beginning.

 

 

Day 71

Day 71

Day 71.

I am looking forward to the end but formulating what’s next. What’s the point of finishing 75hard only to return to the exact same habits as before it started?

As I’ve written before, daily walks will continue. Strength training 3-4 times a week and yoga on Sunday. The intensity may feel exactly the same but there is something comforting about working to reaching a goal without the compulsion of completing a challenge.

Besides the Trifecta goal next year, there is a weight loss goal but I don’t care as much about that as I did a couple of months ago. I want (and will have) the fitness to achieve my goals. This brings to mind another thought. Not caring what anyone thinks about my goal will be paramount to my success. Not naysayers, family, friends, my gym community or what I have come to experience most recently–the presence of a pushy online trainer on social media trying to find out exact details (like my weight) in order to give me unsolicited advice.

I will always appreciate and love support but I won’t depend on outside validation to become who I need to be to cross the line all three times in 2020.

 

Wings

Wings

On the 69th day, I went to a small group physical training class and the “small group” ended up being me.

I appreciated the one-on-one attention. My first real attempt at pull-ups was valiant and the success was aided by a set of bands I stood on for support. Per my new usual, I left tired but proud of the work done.

Afterwards, I met a friend for my second workout –a walk in the park. She gifted me a lovely book of poetry for my birthday.

 

On the back of the book there was a quote that resonated deeply with me:

“Nobody warned you that the women whose feet you cut from running would give birth to daughters with wings.”

Many women like me come from silenced women, oppressed women or women who lived as if their feet were bound or cut because of what the world brainwashed them to claim as truth.

And they did give birth to women like me and many women like my dear friend who want to live out loud, feel the earth under their feet on multiple continents, hike, climb, start their own businesses, volunteer, work, raise money, take care of their families, write books and lead without apology.

Women like me who are scared to live without the recognition of their wings.

Walk

Walk

Day 68 of 75hard.

I had a 5:30am strength class. I struggled to elephant crawl on the AstroTurf, quaking breath and wobbly arms, but it got done. I drove home, jumped out of the car and took a walk.

The long kind of meditative walk that I won’t stop taking once this challenge is over next Friday.

My mind wanders and winds as much as my feet do on these walks. So much to observe. The lonely cats. The barefoot woman who runs out to start and warm up her car before scurrying back in. The trashmen in dayglow vests dragging receptacles across the dewey grass. The children with their hoodies up and heads down, buried in their phones.

I remind myself often to pray. Say thank you, Kristina. You were blessed to wake up today. Your husband woke up today. Your family is healthy. Pray they feel loved and safe and want for nothing.

I may listen to something. But no earphones. I let the sound ring out from the depths of my coat pocket. When I started these walks 68 days ago, I anticipated my fitness changing, growing but I didn’t anticipate the gratification.

I think it’s better that way. Finding it, falling into a practice rather than entering full of assumptions. That is where the authenticity can be found.

Day 64

Day 64

I just got home from what feels like was one of the longest days of my life. Workout, work, home for 45 minutes, doctor’s appointment, grocery store trip, home for an hour to catch a breath and read my pages, strength training class, back to the store and finally back home to write this post and start cooking. At some point, I will pass out ungracefully on the couch.

Most of the days on 75hard have been fine. I never love it all but I’ve gotten through it all. There has been days where I want to fling my gallon jug of water across the room and days where I want to do the same with whatever personal development book I am reading. I also don’t love taking daily full-length pictures of myself. I have never been the person who wants to take constant photos so that part has been hard for me.

While this post seems to be shaping up to be a whinefest, please understand I accept all of these requirements are for a reason. I would never have imagined a Spartan race (let alone three), strength training, consistent yoga, axe throwing (with continuing keep a writing practice at the same time) if it hadn’t been for this.

I get it.

But some days it sucks.

Today (Day 64) is one of those days.

I accept it and I am moving on to tomorrow which I am already claiming will be a better day.

Throwing the Axe

Throwing the Axe

Today is my birthday and it is one of the best ones I can remember.

There are many reasons why:

I am away from home.

I am near the ocean.

I am eating delicious vegan meals in warm and well decorated cafes.

And I tried something new.

I threw axes this afternoon! After watching Christine Baranski throw them on an episode of “The Good Fight”, I had to try it. I mentioned it a couple of times months ago but never thought much about it. Whey Hubby said he had a surprise for my birthday and it’s something I want to try, I racked my brain but came up with nothing.

I eventually guessed about a week ago and by that time, he already made the reservations. When we pulled up today, I was excited. Even if I didn’t hit the board, I knew it wouldn’t matter. The point was to ring in 39 not only with workouts, reading, eating and water but to usher it in with a Kristina who wouldn’t be too scared to wield an axe or anything else I never pictured for myself.

By the way, I not only ended up hitting the board but a couple of times, I hit the bullseye.

Happy Birthday to me.

Day 60

Day 60

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.

 

 

 

 

Everything and Nothing

Everything and Nothing

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.

 

 

 

 

Spartan

Spartan

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.

IMG_20191110_152605
Amber Shaw, trainer extraordinaire who opened my eyes today.

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.