Quote of the day


Joseph Campbell

Sunday, January 26, 2014


Coming off a moderate volume of workouts last weekend I happily took Monday "OFF" from working out (as per my workout schedule, Mondays are my dedicated day off). Tuesday came too quickly and I was back to the grind. I managed a 60 minute spin on the trainer before work then squeezed in a 40 minute easy run along Cherry Creek trail after work. Wednesday, I slept in (well, as late as this girl sleeps in...usually 7:30 am is as late as I go). After a morning full of coffee infusions and getting lots of odds an ends done around the house, I jumped into the pool for a very kick-focused and tough 60 minute swim.

I was running late and had about 90 minutes to 'recover" from the swim before my training session. This was a complimentary training session with Pat Conrad, a personal trainer I met through my dear friend, fellow athlete extraordinaire and ambassador for Ragnar, Aniela Swider.  A few weeks back I had "crashed" one of their one-on-one sessions and so today I had expected the same type of workout: a 60 minute non-stop circuit/core/plyometric boot camp.

Boy was I in for a surprise.

As it turned out I was meeting him for a baseline fitness test. If you've never done one of these I guess I would describe it as a series of varying exercises which are time/speed/repetition focused and where the inevitable outcome is an insane amount of lactic acid build-up.  The goal is to set a baseline of fitness to build off of so that when the fitness test is repeated, usually months later, you have improved on many if not all levels.

My baseline fitness was preceded by body fat testing (with calipers), measurements of the circumference of my thighs, calves, arms, waist and hips. There was, of course, a place on the information sheet for my body weight (as well as my neck circumference :-)).  I swiftly declined weighing myself as it was, is and will always be an unnecessary evil for me (see my previous post: Saying goodbye to the scales).  The numbers generated from my measurements are, for now, just numbers in my head. Yes, I would like to see how they change/improve, but I will not focus on them.

Then the work started.

1/2 mile sprint on the treadmill  - as fast as my legs would take me (and, yes, when I was pushing 11.5 mph I had visions of myself falling smack dab onto my face). Since I had never done something like this and, by nature, I am a "conservationist", I started off too slow to hit a sub-3 minute time, but damn near close.  Next time I will start fast and finish faster, no problem.

Sit-ups for 60 seconds- as many as possible using proper form: elbows to knees on the up and shoulder blades making contact with the floor on the down. Pat of course was standing on my feet FLASH BACK presidential physical fitness test!!).  In my head I wanted to get to 60 but I hit a wall at 50 and managed to squeeze out, in a most painfully slow way, 6 more, for a grand total of 56.

Push-ups. Full, not modified, push-ups with good form; as many as possible without breaking rhythm (i.e. if I paused, slowed down or sped up....game over). I squeezed out 30.

Plank: Holding a proper position for as long as I could until failure. 2 min 09 seconds. (ps: my body started shaking after 30 seconds)

Pull-ups: From a hanging, dead weight position, wide-grip. To be honest, I wasn't even sure I could do 1. I managed 2.

Leg press: 209 lb. Max out without breaking rhythm or form. 41 reps completed.

Re-testing was originally scheduled for for May 1st but my coach (Coach Jen) encouraged me to try again March 1st. Below are my goals or May 1st but I'm looking to see if I can hit them all sooner. To be continued! 

1/2 mile: 2 min 50 sec
Sit-ups: 62
Push-ups: 40
Plank: 2 min 20 sec
Pull-ups: 5
Leg press: 45

This week I was reminded what a great motivator baselines are. When you take time to establish a base-line (or it catches you by surprise like mine did on Wednesday), whether its for work, fitness or any aspect of your life, you have foundation for improvement.  And, maybe, with hard work, you will end up doing things you never thought you were capable of. 

Please don't forget to make a small contribution to my cause. I know the race is months away but every day leading up to it counts and your donation, however big or small, will benefit many people.

Friday, January 17, 2014


Negative thoughts. 

Instinctively, we try to push them away, ignore them or replace them with what we think are more "peaceful", "happy" and "kind" thoughts.

MY negative thoughts have a tendency to hang around in my brain- the frontal lobe to be exact. I obsess with these thoughts (think hamster wheel) and it has proven to be exceptionally detrimental at times. Some, maybe 25%, of my mindful obsessive thoughts have become fuel for my academic, musical and athletic career (good things).... but most of these thoughts create(d) a chaotic and unpleasant environment in my mind.  In school, I was never satisfied with an A-. 25% isn't even a D, its a clear F. And, as its turns out, me, nor anyone else, should be OK with that grade.

Wednesday night I was able to listen to a Teleconference offered by MentorCONNECT featuring a wonderful member of our MentorCONNECT community, Shannon Doyle. In this hour long teleconference Shannon said a number of poignant things but one thing really stuck. She made a clear differentiation between negative thoughts vs. negative actions. She said that negative thoughts do not have to create negative actions.  This concept probably seems pretty obvious to you but, for me, in that one instance, it seemed profound- it gave me clarity, pause and might have helped me to "re-set" a little.  Teleconference Link

So this is what I think. Maybe we should stop focusing on or, in my case, obsessing over, the negative thoughts. Maybe we should simply acknowledge them, accept them on some level and then let them go. Our mindful energy should instead be spent on not allowing (refusing!) negative thoughts to manifest into negative actions. The truth, the very important and hopeful truth is that one does NOT have to precede the other.

Remember, thoughts are just words in our head. They are not law. They do not control us. Negative thoughts will come and go but they certainly do not implicate negative actions...that is....as long as we don't let them. 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014


January 3rd marked a pretty momentous day for me. I threw away my body weight scales. I had not one...not two...but THREE scales in my house and, to be honest, they were dragging me down. Literally.

I have been meaning to get rid of my scales for years really. I spent a LOT of time on them and unfortunately my weight on any given day dictated much more than it should have. The scale had a hold of me like nothing I have ever known....it was consuming, suffocating and detrimental to my overall health.  The irony of it all was that I didn't want to let it go. I suppose it was a crutch for me, in a way. Only, when the weight wasn't what I wanted, the crutch became more of a weapon than a support mechanism. I cannot tell you how many times I was emotionally beaten by that scale.

So, this year started with a very bold and hopefully momentous act of "letting go". Maybe some of you can relate to the inappropriate grip the scale or anything else for that matter can have on you. I guess what I encourage any of you to do is to recognize the demon(s) that lurk in your mind and then make a conscious decision to NOT let them rule you any more. 

The truth is, the scale can only give a numerical reflection of your relationship with gravity. That's it. It cannot measure beauty, talent, purpose, possibility, strength, character or love. And it was time for me to let it go. What can you let go of today, this day, in this new year??

I would love your feedback on this post! It's very important/poignant to me. Thank you!

Thursday, January 2, 2014


I was just starting my run on the treadmill yesterday when the hum of a loud and rather annoying voice overshadowed my iTunes playlist. I turned my head abruptly over my right shoulder and saw a woman on a treadmill behind me yapping loudly to another woman standing next to her. This loud bantering carried on for the next 40 minutes as she conversed with just about everyone who walked by her. Now, this woman was definitely fit and what some might deem a "gym rat". She wore black 3/4 leggings and a matching sports bra which showcased her lean body; a body that was highlighted in tattoos over the insides of her arms and down along either side of her torso (we are in Colorado after all).

So, needless-to-say, I had a very difficult time focusing on my own workout. I found myself instead thinking of ways I could approach her and tell her to quiet down...or to complain to gym management that I was a victim of noise pollution. I kept telling myself that that this attitude was NOT the way to begin the New Year and it took every ounce of self control to let it go.

Ironically, today, when I went to the gym to lift after work, guess who I found myself working out next to?  Yes, you guessed it. This time we both happened to be in the fitness studio doing our own separate workouts. I groaned under my breath as I started to jump rope. She, of course, took it upon herself to hook her music up to the studio stereo. I groaned again. But then something happened. I heard a song on her playlist that I had never heard before (and, yes, our friend was singing without abandon to it) and realized it was a really, really cool and inspiring song. Something inside of me changed and I began to find rhythm in my routine. In the corner of my eye I could see her busting out some amazing plyometrics and working really hard (can you say grunt?!). I found it to be totally inspiring!

About 15 minutes later she walked in front of me to put her mat away and said "sorry, excuse me" and that's when I new I had turned a corner in my approach to her. I said "No problem. You know, I wish your music could play every time I worked out in here". She laughed and said "thanks" and for the remainder of our time spent working out "together" she sang out loud and shared infrequent insights about her playlist with me. 

Who would have thought someone whose neck I wanted to wring less than 24 hours earlier could end up helping me push myself harder? All I have to say is, thanks gym girl. I'm sure you will annoy me in the future but I will look past your loud cackle and high-pitched screams for now and use your energy and groovy tunes to make me better.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014


Happy 2014! Today marks the beginning of yet another adventure for me and I'm really excited to share it with you! 

On July 28, 2014 I will compete in Ironman Lake Placid held in beautiful Lake Placid, NY.

(An ironman, for those of you who do not know, is the quintessential triathlon competition. It is comprised of a 2.4 mile swim followed by a 112 mile bike and finished with a marathon (26.2 miles of running). And, yes, these events are done on the same day, in succession and mandatorily under 17 hours.)

Between now and then I will be blogging about my journey to the start line; the rigorous regimen of eating/sleeping/training....and repeat.  (I will also be juggling a full work schedule and some semblance (or not) of a social life).  During my blogging efforts, I hope to raise money for a very important organization to me called MentorCONNECT, a global eating disorders recovery and mentoring community. http://www.mentorconnect-ed.org/

In 2011 I published daily accounts of my journey across America on two wheels (http://transamerica-slipstream.blogspot.com/) and realized that blogging was a phenomenal way to share my experiences with my friends, family and even people I had never met. It also became a means by which I was inspired to push harder and dig deeper.

Please offer me and MentorCONNECT your support and I invite you with open arms to come along for what I imagine will be a most glorious ride to the start line of an amazing race.

Today I completed my first day of training. The next 8 weeks are considered a "base/building phase" and, for me, a "reawakening phase". Today's workout was comprised of a 40 minute run and a 60 minute swim as per my friend and coach, Jennifer Gatz M.S, M.A.T Exercise Physiologist (http://jayasports.com/welcome/). I didn't think I would be ready to train again so soon - my last race of 2013 was a half ironman in Miami at the end of October- but, as it turns out, 8 weeks of training as I please (focusing more on lifting, less on cardio and less on overall intensity), with no particular training regimen, can rebuild and repair a worn out body and mind. Let the games begin!