Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Rise Above

I always love to see athletes or teams rise to the occasion in competition and step up, when it really counts, when the chips are down, when its tough, and hard and yes…. painful. They rise to the occasion and rise above the unfavorable odds or circumstances. It is so admirable and motivating to see athletes face it and not crumble when it gets hard.

Its happened recently in sport with Meb wining the Boston Marathon. I was  putting together injured people that Monday when the historic race was taking place and could only read about later many of my friends watching in tears as an American won the Boston marathon for the first time in like 31years.  So inspiring, motivating and …..timely.  I went for a run that night!

The Blackhawks stepped it up, pulled through  and won the series after coming from behind to move on in the quest for another Stanley Cup. I confess I'm not a true hockey fan, I love football. However I have no problem admitting I've jumped on the BlackHawk bandwagon the last 2 seasons because they are Hot,  they fight for it, and they rock. It can't be that bad of a bandwagon to be cruising around on.

Last weekend I watched 10 year olds on the lacrosse field step up and come from a 5-1 deficit, not collapse or give up,  but fight  back to battle it out for a hard fought……. tie. Sure it was a tie, but the lesson to 10 yr olds was not to give up when behind 5-1, but to fight back with all you have.
Jack, staring it down

Rising above is facing head on your weaknesses, limitations and going for it. Its scary,  uncomfortable and often painful, but when you challenge yourself to deal with it, you are in the end stronger.  I've been faced with all kinds of opportunities this spring to rise above, look it square in the eye and keep moving forward.  

My Psimet team had a group team ride recently.   I had been planing on doing this for some time but, gulp had no idea it would be an 80 mile ride around Lake Geneva.  I haven't done a work out longer than a whopping  2 hours since …..well before Vegas World Champs 70.3, so maybe early August. Yet I really wanted to go ride with this very amazing group of women bike racers who the next week went to race the Joe Martin Stage Race and kicked butt. Coming out of the polar vortex of which I had barely gotten on a bike or ridden, I sucked it up, showed up, put my head down and rode. I suffered some at the end, due to lack of miles, but it in the end it was a win for me and am feeling stronger riding already.
PSIMET ladies  @ worlds largest Starbucks!

Anyone who knows me well recently, knows I haven't been swimming either, since yes, Vegas. I believe I swam 1 x in 2014, but recently decided to find some swim arms again and showed up to masters, and faced it head on. It might have been easier to go swim solo, a few times to get a little feel for the water again, test it out, but swimming solo is …….so boring. I went to masters jumped right  in and swam. I felt like I need to rest every 150, (and did hang on the wall a bunch) , but got through it with a smile on my face.

Yesterday, I found myself looking at a track workout to be done on a cold,  windy,  rainy day. I procrastinated getting ready to go drive to the track in the late afternoon, my only chance when Jack was off at lacrosse practice. If I have to wait to workout, it gets tough I can think of a million reasons not to do it, but I faced it,in the cold the wind and damp, stressing about my splits in the wind and  drove to the track faced that horrible feeling of trying to run fast on the track for the first time in cold wind, and in the end, I surprised myself! 
A cold windy Betty

Spring is here, (kind of )  things are green and growing in my back yard. I love seeing the things I planted a few years ago, take root, come back and eventually bloom into amazing flowers.  As a single mom now, I am facing a lot of new things that are sometimes scary. But every little opportunity I have to look scary things square in the eye, I give it my best to stare it down, and not walk away. It shapes you into something stronger and beautiful.
Last year's Lilacs

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Relax and Rebuild...spring break at the beach!

I just returned home from a most fabulous vacation to Florida for spring break with my friend DL.  An escape to sun, fun and the beach was much needed and this trip was one of the most relaxing/yet fun trips I've had in a very long  time.   It was the perfect combination workout, relax, shop and celebrate. The polar vortex of this winter turned my life upside down and inside out and left me  frozen without any control under a very large snow drift.  There was no reprive from the frozen-ess.  Just when it would warm up just a little and I'd start to thaw out,  another artic blast would blow in again.  After such a long extreme winter,  a trip out of here was so needed for a change of scenery, soak in some sun, build in a little more training and relax in the sun.

We loaded 3 tweens, 2 teenagers, 2 moms into a suburban with 2 bikes and a lot of luggage, left our neighborhood sub at 4 am and drove south practically without stopping to the ocean beaches of Florida. Did you know in a new suburban with a large tank and with bladders that will allow it you can drive 6.5 hours without stopping!
worth the drive!

We rented an adorable house on the beach sufficient to house all we hauled with us in the suburban.
My mission was to: 
1. relax, 2. clear my head 3. smile and have fun 4. workout 5. catch some sun 6. sweat 7. play on the beach 8. have more fun

We set  no alarms,  and I woke up and sat at the beach and saw dolphins with the  sun coming up,  or drank coffee on the porch.  I went for some great runs and its nice to see that  when you aren't trudging through snow, frozen wind and can shed a few base layers fitness is actually starting to come around and my easy run pace is actually starting to look decent again.  I did swim and bike some mainly for recovery and to enjoy being outside.

 Part of rebuilding strength and fitness is getting strong and following a plan and starting back at the basics. I floundered all winter randomly working out without direction, that got me through the polar vortex, but now I am now more focused again.   I started working out regularly with my long time personal trainer Mark Nilles who has been pushing me to a new level with some great strength workouts. He recently expanded his gym which only enables him to push us even  harder with more room and more toys.
Its been fun slamming some metal around

I have also started working with my friend Jen Harrison to get fast running and help direct me in my new adventure of marathon training with using bike racing and a few triathlons to cross train and keep me sane. So far, I have been more than thrilled in just the few weeks she has been coaching me. Now I need to get a few more races on the schedule! 

Even though I am focused again and loving being back to training and working hard, my goal  on this trip wasn't to  focus on training. I wanted a vacation to sit by the beach, play with the kids, celebrate spring and have fun and enjoy not having to get up at the crack of early and be on a mission to check off a lengthy to do list as I do regularly on most days. Balancing being a single mom, full time work, running a house, and trying to train some leaves me running crazy most days.  So,  sitting still on the beach was perfect!
beach souvenirs

moms on the beach
Betty bikini on the beach to recover!
Dinner out with this very interesting man
We returned home after another 14+ hours in the car in which I confess started liking country music (again).  It seems spring may actually have made its way to the midwest.  I have a slight tan, a smile on my face and am ready to face real life again.