The bad news: It was really hard. I mean really hard. The ocean swim was cancelled in favor of a ¼ mile “ocean dash.” I was glad that the race organizers were smart about it – swimming in the 4-6 foot swells would have been really difficult (and definitely not safe). But I don’t run and I certainly don’t “dash.” So, I started out the race already feeling a bit “behind,” as the swim is my best part, and the part where I find myself keeping pace with the “average” swimmer. The 10 mile bike ride was difficult because there were a lot of headwinds. And, I was just really tired. When I finished the 10 mile bike ride and was beginning the run (a/k/a, walk) I thought about quitting. And then I thought about cheating by skipping one section and “pretending” I already did it. And then I thought that cheaters never prosper, and remembered the fact that I am not a quitter. So, I trudged on – slowly – after the bike. My legs hurt and I was very tired (did I mention that I was tired?). I’m grateful to my friend Michele (who I met through the New Jersey Womens Lawyers Association) for circling back and finding me along the run (a/k/a walk) and walking with me – at my pace. I finished in under 2 hours, and I suspect I was last (although I haven’t had the heart to look at race results yet).
But being last isn’t the end of the world – I still finished ahead of all of the people who were still sleeping in their beds that morning. And, by racing at all, I prove to myself that I can; I show people (including my daughters) that a woman of size can exercise – can push her body and her self to the limits– and not quit. And, that’s a worthwhile endeavor.
But honestly, I felt like crap after the race. I was *really* and a/k/a literally rundown. And then I thought about what I did differently this time.
So, I’ve heard a lot of advice about not trying out anything new before race day. Don’t wear new clothes, don’t try a new breakfast bar, and don’t’ try out new equipment.
So, what was different for me? I ate my usual Rice Krispies (don’t laugh – they are easily digestible, and good for before a swim). But I didn’t eat a carnation instant breakfast – I couldn’t find one – and I didn’t think it would matter. I also didn’t eat in transition – in the past, I have snacked on something before/during the bike. I didn’t this time. And I think that was a mistake.
So, live and learn. I pushed ahead and I finished, and I’m very grateful. But, I will be smarter before the Danskin triathlon, and am already making plans for next year’s triathlon season. I’m committing now to starting earlier – with Queen of the Hill triathlon in June. I figure that way, I’ll be training during the winter/spring… And, I’m making sure I buy some Carnation instant breakfasts for Danskin.
I write as I sit here with my bowl of rice krispies — the breakfast of triathlon champions — and feel excited and nervous about SheRox race day being here. The fear and doubt creep in: I could have trained more. I could have trained better. And… And, I could have. But, I am showing up. And that’s half the battle. The other half will start in a little while and I’m a bundle of jitters at the prospect. The ocean is churning and rough with rip-tides and swells and a slew of other swimmer non-friendly occurrences.
I was speaking about my triathlon experience with a fellow member of the New Jersey Women Lawyers Association. She was so taken — and so moved — that she signed up for this one as well. While she is definitely athletic, she has never done a triathlon. I’m so proud of her — and I am also so happy about the fact that I inspired someone else to do something out of their comfort zone.
My friend Kate will also be there. I trained with her for my first swim relay, and she continues to race in triathlons — even moving to “Olympic Distance.”
My family and friends will be there in spirit (let’s face it — a 7 a.m. start is a bit early). I am grateful to my family and friends for their support.
Float Roll Stroll, Finish. SheRox.
This morning, I was lamenting about how I feel stiff and about how my body isn’t moving the way I want and an onslaught of other negative thoughts. When I got into work, I had an email in my inbox from my friend and fellow triathlete Kellie, who sent me a link that she said was inspiring: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2188373/Rick-van-Beek-Devoted-dad-runs-triathlon-carrying-teenager-daughter-cerebral-palsy.html
“Team Maddy” is a father-daughter team who have participated in more than 70 races. Rick Van DerBeek races with his daughter, Maddy, who has cerebral palsy. Rick started racing when he realized how much his daughter loves being outside. And, when he started racing, he was out of shape and a two-pack a day smoker. In his blog, he writes:
Every time you take the next stride and feel the pain and want to quit, think of Maddy and suck it up. One more stride, one more breath, one more mile, it isn’t going to kill you.
Check out the link from the Daily Mail – it contains video of one of their more recent triathlons: He swims with her (in a kayak) and then races with her on a bike (pulling her in a cart) and running (pushing her in a buggy). He carries her during the transitions. When people talk about how inspirational he is, he gives the credit to his daughter, as he explains “She is my heart and I am her legs.”
Thanks, Maddy and Rick for inspiring me to keep on moving and keep on pushing through. Thanks for also pointing out that my aches and pains and complaints are nothing. One more stride, one more breath. Float, roll, stroll.
With the Olympics in full swing and the dead of summer swelter upon us, it can mean—for me, only one thing. The triathlons are coming! August 26 is SheRox in Asbury Park and September 9 is Danskin in Sandy Hook. I am signed up for both triathlons. And now that August is upon me – training is in earnest.
I’m a big fan of Jayne Williams (author of Slow Fat Triathlete) and one of her tips is to “swim at every opportunity.” I’ve been doing that – and thankfully, my swim is feeling pretty good. I’m slow, but I’m steady — at least in the pool…. The biking and running (which is reasonably fast walking) — not as much.
Given that I’m feeling less trained on the bike and walking, my goal this weekend was to do a mini-triathalon — backwards. I wanted to train on the bike and walk before swimming. While I didn’t do all of the events back to back, I’m proud to say I completed my self-imposed mini-triathlon. 10 miles bike, followed by 2 miles on the elliptical (I don’t like treadmills and I was at the gym), and a quarter mile swim.
It’s important for me to take the time while training to try to enjoy this. If it’s not enjoyable, it’s less likely that I’ll continue—it goes back to the Kingley Health mantra: “Change I can live with.” However much I may envy the Olympic athletes (and their bodies, O my God), I am not training for the Olympics; I am training to both challenge myself and to improve my quality of life. If training is miserable it defeats at least half of that equation.
The thought that I could even enjoy any kind of physical activity is still somewhat astonishing, but for me, there is something freeing and almost child-like about riding a bike (although I never remember a bike hurting my “undercarriage” as a kid like it does now). The morning’s bike ride didn’t dissapoint.
There is a beautiful bike trail not far from my house, and I enjoyed riding and sharing the morning with the other walkers and bikers on the trail. At mile 5, I saw the most beautiful wildflowers (I later found out that they are considered weeds—but what, in the end, is a weed?). While I didn’t stop to smell them, I did stop to take a picture—relishing the moment and being present in my own life, even as I train.
In the afternoon, I met my friend Kellie at her health club to complete the other two portions of the triathlon — the walk (run for some) and the swim. Side by side, we did the elliptical and some other machine that made my legs glide along while moving my arms. I enjoy being outside more, but with New Jersey a cauldron of August heat, working out in the air conditioning was much appreciated. And, with my tunes blaring, my best friend next to me, and the Olympic water polo match on, it was pretty damn fun. And then Kellie and I did some laps in the pool and then enjoyed the jacuzzi. It was a great way to spend a Saturday, and I certainly feel more ready for SheRox and Danskin then I did before. Maybe, in the end, whether it’s a weed or a beautiful flower is all in the way that you look at it.
In the wake of the Aurora tragedy this week I have found myself — like countless others — wondering how something like this could happen. My heart goes out to those who lost loved ones, and to those that were critically injured. I am sad for them and for all of us that someone would do something so senseless. I am also left wondering how someone could legally purchase so many weapons and so much ammunition without detection. It is truly scary. But this isn’t a blog about gun control.
While driving, I had the opportunity to hear the story of Jessica Redfield — Jessica was an aspiring sports writer in her mid-20′s who was working as an intern at a Denver sports radio station. Jessica was one of the twelve movie-goers who were killed while at a midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises,” the latest installment of the Batman series.
In her blog, Jessica talked about the fact that about a month ago, she had been in Toronto, and at the mall, when there had been a random shooting just moments after she left the food court. Her blog describes how terrifying the incident was. And then, Jessica said in her blog:
I say all the time that every moment we have to live our life is a blessing. So often I have found myself taking it for granted. Every hug from a family member. Every laugh we share with friends. Even the times of solitude are all blessings. Every second of every day is a gift. After Saturday evening, I know I truly understand how blessed I am for each second I am given.
So perhaps what I will carry with me from this tragedy is not the profound sadness or fear I feel about such a senseless and tragic event. Rather, I will remember Jessica, and her words to treasure each moment — and not take life for granted. And, I will not let my life pass me by. I will hug my kids, laugh with friends, and be grateful for the many blessings that I have. Among my blessings are my friends who encouraged me to swim in that first triathlon, and to have the courage to share my story with others. My story is not one where I started exercising, and the weight melted off and I’m so happy in the “after.” Rather — my story is about the fact that my friends encouraged me to get outside of myself — to take a chance — and to live now. As Jessica so meaningfully noted one month before her tragic death, every moment we have to live our life is a blessing. I don’t want to squander mine on “some day.”
This morning, aol.com featured the HuffPost article on their Welcome Page. I spent pretty much all day yesterday reveling in the attention, and watching with interest how the article was tweeted, shared, and commented upon. I had doubts about putting myself out there so publicly, but I am proud of my accomplishments, and had hoped to serve as an inspiration to others–letting people know that they can live their dreams and accomplish their goals, regardless of body size. The many comments I’ve gotten so far have affirmed my belief that this was the right thing to do– as I’ve gotten more than a few commitments to take part in upcoming triathlons– from my colleagues, friends and friends I’ve just met–fellow travelers doing the best we can in the bodies we have now.
Of course, not everyone has been so nice. That is to be expected (but I, of course, spent way too much time focusing on it). Some people may still look at me and laugh. And, that’s okay too. Too bad I don’t have any pictures of me from the Dotty’s House triathalon where I wore a wetsuit which made me look and feel like a superhero. That would certainly deflect some of those negative comments. OK, maybe the wetsuit wouldn’t actually deflect meanness, and I suppose didn’t look like everyone’s version of a superhero– but I certainly felt like one.
I do, however, feel the need to comment on one of the threads I’ve seen about knee injuries. I am quite aware of my knees, and the fact that these extra pounds may put stress on my knees (and hips) while training and competing in triathlons. There are a bunch of articles out there about running and the adverse effects it can have on persons of any size. But there are also articles out there about how people (including overweight people) can run and move safely. The trick seems to be starting gradually, not overdoing it, stretching, and allowing time to recover.
This is probably good advice for anyone. Regardless of size.
There are great programs online about getting started running from a sedentary lifestyle. You can find them by googling “From Couch to 5k.” My health and fitness center, Kingley Health, is running a program in conjunction with an upcoming American Heart Association 5k they are involved with. With the help of professionals, persons of any size can learn how to move better and to get active (and hopefully, have fun in the process).
As for me, I don’t really run. Not yet. Even in the triathlons. I walk — sometimes briskly — sometimes strolling. And, I may throw in an occasional jog (especially as I near the finish line). Running doesn’t come naturally to me, and it doesn’t feel good. But walking and walking fast does. And even walking, I make it to the finish line. You can too.
So, today’s the day that the Huffington Post and MarloThomas.com featured my story. It was amazing to see it in print (although I flinched when I saw the “100 pounds to lose” in the title). Lori Weiss did a fantastic job of taking my story and getting it on paper. It has been a joy getting to know her in the process – she is a woman of great integrity and a seriously gifted writer and story teller. This next part is going to seem a little like an Academy Awards acceptance speech – but I think that I would be remiss if I didn’t write a thank you to the people who have helped me on my journey. I am so grateful to my friends and family for all of their support – especially my friends that walked, swam, and rode with me – Kellie, Kate, Nikki, and Cristian. I also wanted to thank my trainers/nutritionist at Kingley Health, they are a very important part of my story – empowering possibilities and encouraging me to take chances and to live now (and have fun in the process), and LosingWeightToLive.com, where I blog sometimes. This has been an amazing journey so far, and I am really blown away by the outpouring of support (especially the emails and messages I’ve been receiving from people I know and some I’ve just met talking about how they are going to sign up for that marathon, triathalon, or athletic event! ). Most of all, I want to thank my family – especially my mother and my daughters for their faith in me, and for giving me courage to keep on going. Float, Roll, Stroll, Finish.
And yes, please continue in telling me your story! Drop me a line or leave a comment and we can take this journey together.
So, I thought about calling this post “two steps forward and one step back.” And then I thought that sounded a little negative. Then I thought about calling this one “You will go in the direction you are facing.” But then I couldn’t find who actually wrote that quote. But the truth is, I don’t think it really matters what I call it — this week, my life was crazy and training took a back burner to work, kids birthdays, house hunting, house showing, work, networking, a NJWLA meeting and installation dinner, etc.
Am I happy about that? Not really. But beating myself up about it doesn’t make it any easier to get right back on track. And, while I didn’t make as much time to train, I did make time to see my nutritionist at Kingley Health, which was very helpful in making some connections about how well I am doing with my quest for mindful eating. And, it all goes together and is all part of the bigger picture.
So this post is a bit ironic, given my last post on “finding the balance.” I am not feeling so balanced these days. But, as I write this post, I am already thinking about how I can fit in a long bike ride this weekend, and get into the pool to do some laps. Thinking isn’t doing, although planning is key. So, I am headed in the direction I am facing: to better health, to living well, to being the best parent I can be, to being a trusted advisor to my clients, and to the next triathlon.
As a solo attorney, a mother, and a triathlete, I constantly find myself running from one activity to the next. Some days, it feels like there are so many competing demands, that there’s no way I can get everything done.
And, other days (often, if I take the time to tend to myself—to get in that workout I tell myself I don’t have time for) I find myself in sort of a rhythm, and am able to move from one activity to the next with some degree of grace (and gratitude).
I was recently asked to write an article on “work-life balance” for the New Jersey Lawyer magazine. The article focuses more on my work and family life than on my quest for better health. But really, it’s all inter-related. Putting myself in my list of priorities — whether it is preparing meals ahead of time, packing healthy lunches and snacks, and fitting in a workout or two, are all part of my quest for balance.
This article was originally published in the most recent (June 2012) issue of New Jersey Lawyer Magazine, a publication of the New Jersey State Bar Association, and is reprinted here with permission.
The challenges of being a solo practitioner and a mother of two small children are surpassed only by its rewards. Balancing a legal practice and a family life—or any life at all outside the law—can be daunting. The key to managing both is flexibility.
Although some sort of balance is what I hope for in the aggregate, on a day-to-day basis it is not so much a balance as a pendulum: clients, family, networking, the business of being in business for yourself, and even the occasional social outing—all in turn make their clear and unequivocal claims as the pendulum swings day by day and hour by hour, and must be served.
To read more click on the link below (and then click on the link that appears)
I love watching the Olympic swimmers: how they seem to cut so effortlessly through the water. I especially like watching the underwater cameras to see the swimmers in action, the reach, pull and glide that makes them skim through the water. They make it look so easy and graceful.
So, I read with interest the article that appeared in the Mail Online, that reported on a recent Duke University Study. According to the article:
[A]n ‘invisible web’ of water is created by spread fingers, allowing swimmers to propel themselves with more force – and that the technique is already used by the professionals.
I will definitely watch this summer’s Olympics with interest to see if I can see whether the athletes spread their fingers. And, of course, I will try this technique as I log hours swimming getting ready for the next triathlon.