What’s Next

I have been thinking about what it means to do it all. Recently, I was asked to recognize that just because I can do it doesn’t mean I should. It also doesn’t mean I should try to do it all at the same time because it rarely works well and something inevitably falls through the cracks.

I have been taking time to figure out what that means to me. I am still training for my Strongman competition next month, gearing up to accelerate training for the Spartan Trifecta, planning a workshop with a partner and I have started facilitating a creative non-fiction class at a non-profit for returning citizens.

While I love all of it, I am yearning to devote more time to short stories and reading. So I am. Even if it means one of the other things (like posting here) temporarily falls by the wayside. After reading “Heads of the Colored People” by Nafissa Thompson-Spires, I reconnected with the part of me that needs to slow down and explore what it means to bring my heart and imagination together on the page.

I remembered fretting over prompts given to me in a fiction writing class last year but ultimately happy when the stories came to fruition. I was even looking forward (albeit nervously) to critique by my classmates and teacher. I wanted to get better.

So this is me.

Saying yes to what’s next.

 

Battle

I know I will look back on this month as the time I chose to bet on myself AND trust God.

I am starting to increase my training this week to ready myself for the strongman competition in March. I finally have a date set to facilitate my first class (February 5th!). I am signing up for the second race in the Spartan Trifecta soon and buying my copyright for “What I Love About You” this week.

Executing on all of these things means I am fighting ancient battles, ones so old I was not even 10 years old when they began. I am worn from the fights but I have a renewed energy.

I was standing in the ocean a couple of days ago, foamy cool waves soaking my feet and brushing against my calves. I thought about what I want my life to look like and the things I want to let go. I want to make room for all of the possibility and trust all of the new I am embarking on will bring me to a place where some of those battle scars will have healed.

I want to go back at the beginning of 2021 to the same spot and reminisce on who I was and all of the changes I made. No journey is ever really over but I want leave the intensity of the fear and uncertainty behind.

Set it free.

Set myself free.

 

 

 

Happy New Year

2019 held lots of beautiful memories. It was truly full of firsts– indoor rock climbing, my first open mic, teacher facilitation training, someone telling me I could be an athlete (Strong woman, here I come!), submitting a short story, throwing axes, completing 75hard, my first pole fitness class, attending Summit of Greatness solo, the publication of The Digital Storytelling Project for Women of Color and my citation in “Liminalities” and finally getting around to buying necessities to distribute my E-book (coming in 2020).

I also experienced some of the most scary moments in my life– terrible anxiety, unexplained pain, calling 911 for the first time and spending many nights in the hospital with Hubby this summer (we are so blessed he is well). There were times when I did not know if our lives would look even remotely the same. I knew better than to wallow in sadness and feed into the defeat and sadness that sometimes threatened to overtake me but I wasn’t always successful. I had to trust God and our past triumphs over health trials guide us back to the place we were supposed to be.

I reviewed 2019 and it would be fitting to set goals for 2020. Because I have already started work on the goals I intend to complete for 2020 (the Spartan Trifecta, Strong woman competition, book selling, teaching writing next year ), I will continue what I have been doing. Anything else I aspire to do like more reading, writing, travel and volunteering will be done but I don’t want to see it as part of a resolve to be a new person, I see it as a natural evolution.

Evolving into this person who chooses her experiences, forgiveness and leaves who and what does not serve her behind.

Happy New Year to all of you.

I send love and peace of mind as we start a new decade and revolution around the sun.

 

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

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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.

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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.

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

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Today and August 2019
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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.

 

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.

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

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.

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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.