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

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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.

 

Self-actualization

Self-actualization

Noun

the realization or fulfillment of one’s talents and potentialities, especially considered as a drive or need present in everyone.

At Afterburn class tonight, I was the only person who showed up. I was ready to work but didn’t expect to talk about where I have been or where I see myself going.

While warming up, my teacher asked me about how I spend my days. I told her about my day job and my writing and upcoming teaching. And then she asked a question I knew I would be writing about this evening:

“Do you feel self-actualized?”

I told her I feel it more now than ever before but I think it’s a journey. With the addition of these strength training and weekly yoga classes, there is a distinct difference for me. I had to change the fitness story I’ve been telling myself forever. It used to go like this:

I like to walk and jog, preferably outside. I love to dance and water aerobics but that’s really it. I don’t like weightlifting. It’s boring and it’s just not for me. I have never been an athlete.

In just a few short weeks, I am ready to alter some of those details:

I love weightlifting, especially one on one or in a small group. I love to dance, go to water aerobics classes, walking and jogging outside everyday and challenge the flexibility and strength of my body in yoga. I am an athlete, training to compete in a Strongman and my first Spartan race in a few months time. I love the powerful woman I am becoming.

There is no destination for me. I believe I am constantly unfolding and breaking old molds. I am in a state of perpetual vulnerability which can be equal parts exhausting and exhilarating.

And completely worthwhile.

 

The Sun

The Sun

My hot Vinyasa yoga teacher read a gorgeous piece at the end of class. I should have asked who wrote it because I cannot seem to find it. I will ask next week. The sentence “Turn your face to the sun” repeats several times. It was a charge to be more grateful, acknowledge all of the smiling eyes and prayers made on your behalf no matter the trial.

I needed the encouragement. Though it wouldn’t usually bother me, I felt a sense of shame not being able to get into many of the poses. I felt exposed, as if I was a fraud. The insecurity of having “too much” body. Believe me, I know better but the feeling arose a few more times even after telling myself to shake it off and that those thoughts do not get to make a home here.

This is my quiet time. My prayer time. My stretch time. My solo practice in the midst of all of these sweaty, bendy bodies. Even though I was never completely settled, the piece spoke to my insecurities and reminded me of why I intend to keep coming.

Why I intend to keep coming after all of it –the last 5 days of 75 hard, the last week of bloglikecrazy, teaching, writing and training for Spartan.

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.

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.

 

 

 

 

Afterburn

Afterburn

I don’t have much to say except for the strength training class I took tonight lived up to its name. Burpees, swimmers, steps, dumbbells, TRX, kettle bells and the return of the foam roller. I didn’t feel as nervous for the second class and the instructor was just as positive and encouraging as the last one. I am actually starting to look forward to the next one on Friday morning.

I am exhausted but it is worth it. Last night before I went to bed, all I felt like doing was working on my short story and I scribbled furiously into my notebook, trying not to forget any details I needed to get down. Tonight, I foresee passing out, happy with no intention of writing but hopeful everything I am investing in my body today will manifest as energy and creativity on many more tomorrows.

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.

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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.

Perfect Day

Perfect Day

I just had a day I wish I could have once a week. I took a three-hour writing class entitled “Pens Up, Fears Down” taught by Sadeqa Johnson. A friend of mine also attended (a lovely surprise). After class, I was invited to a lunch by her that she already had planned with another close girlfriend of mine.

When the day began, it was a bit of a struggle to tear myself away from the bed. I strained  my left ankle jamming my foot into the sneaker but told myself it would be ok once I got going. Thankfully, I was right.

Recently at the tail end of my walks, I have shifted into a jog. I was being tender with my ankle so I rolled it around a bit and decided today I would continue this new tradition. I ended up jogging longer than I had since this began!

Even though I overestimated how much time I had to get ready before class, I still made it for all of the writing prompts. Before class, my hunch was Sadeqa’s style of teaching and the community of writers gathered would reignite my fire for writing fiction.

It took a couple of prompts but I finally started to tell the story that’s been a bit of an obsession for me lately. That story has been trying to find a place on the paper for a couple  months now but I have been avoiding it.

I think I found the start of a couple of short stories or a novella. I love when I make space for a story and it lets me know it has found its home when the pen hits the page.

The fact that I got to cap this writing experience off with a lunch with two of my beautiful writer friends was perfection. We should have taken a picture but I am pleased we were too absorbed in one another to break the spell of lovely, flowing conversation to do so.

I am in the middle of day 55 of 75hard (with water to drink, pages to read, a picture to take and a workout to complete) and day 9 of bloglikecrazy. Days like this wear me out in the best way.

I am back home. I will take a few minutes to lie down and reflect on this most perfect day.

Then I will get on with the rest of the work because I have to show up for Day 56 and Day 10 no matter how it shows up for me.

Day 50

Day 50

Today is day 50 of 75hard challenge.

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.

Even though they are already ajar.

 

Soul Work

Soul Work

I’m so full right now.

I just left a workshop facilitation training at Life in 10 Minutes taught by Valley Haggard.

I got to hold space with people who are eager to give of themselves.

I was challenged to be a stronger listener.

I thought I knew how to listen but now I can see where the holes are and with time, they will be filled.

I now know if I had tried to teach before, I would have walked in with many more blindspots.

I come away from the workshop believing artists feed one another and grow together, especially if we are creating in service to others.

I knew I needed the education but I didn’t know I was going to be gifted with the breadth of wisdom that the room gave me today.

It is incredibly satisfying to leave an experience with questions answered I didn’t know I had when I walked in.

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I am not as scared of what comes next even as my heart predictably races and doubt threatens to creep to the surface.

I am not living this life or challenging myself to teach and participate in the healing of the fresh and decaying wounds of my future students so I can be settled and silent.

I am not sure what good I would be then.

Never stirring this soul of mine up.