Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Day 16 = Committed

How was your character yesterday? What did you notice about yourself?

I noticed some things that I don't like about myself too much. Unattractive things. As hard (and humbling) as they are to blog about, I believe it will help me manage them.

First: I talk too much about what I do regarding my training to other athletes. I need to stop this. We all train hard. We are all tired. Why should I let them know my volume and what I do in a week? It's my training program, and I have to deal with it as is. Period. In this way, I can remain the "dark horse" and simply work on my training. Training is a personal thing for me right now and I should treat it as such (unless I'm asked about it of course!)

Second: I think I complain too much. It could be my current situation, but I have been talking a lot of negativity lately. This is hard for me to manage because I'm really good at bitching, and people like to do what they are good at, but I need to just focus and speak of the positive and deal with any negative b-s internally. Other people don't want to hear about it (or they just don't give a shit).

Hmm...I'm already complaining and being negative. Told you it would be hard for me.

Day 16= Committed. It takes commitment to reach your goals and dreams!

Keep on keeping on.
Stay strong.
Be the little engine that might.
It all takes commitment.

Many good things in life (albeit most of them) require commitment.
I'm talking about personal commitment here, not commitments to outside sources or influences- commitment to yourself, your person, what really matters to you.

It takes strength, overcoming fear at times, and going to uncomfortable places. However, when you maintain commitment towards yourself and your goals, how could you ever fail.

Training today (because I feel like I should list it somewhere....don't judge me)
(am) swimming at 'NOVA, about 5600 yards
(pm) 6 mile tempo run through the hills and big houses of Bryn Mawr

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Day 15 = Character

Sorry for my absence over the past few days.
I do have an excuse for it all. Briefly: my life turned to crappola all last week, my car was nearly totaled thanks to a careless driver who rear-ended me, my tri bike was in my trunk when I was rear ended, people in Philly can be straight up ass holes, I raced my first tri over 2 hrs away, Rob's car died too (sympathy pain?) and things continued to decline for me personally.

That being said: This is a new week, my car is being fixed, my tri bike that was in my car will be included in insurance, I got 2nd place in my age-group (by only 40 seconds!!) and I have a good support system to help me through "rough patches." So, things are looking up.

Day 15 = Character
Show your true colors through your character.

I think attitude has a lot to do with character. Maintaining a constant state of self, being self-aware, and knowing who you are all help to build a strong, stable, confident character.
I'd like to think that I'm fairly consistent with my character (fem. mood swings included) even if my character happens to have some flaws. After all, I'm only human.

Take a look at your character today. Do you like what it has to offer? What about it is special and unique to only you? Is there an aspect you'd like to change or manage differently? What do you find attractive or admirable in the characters of others and how can you emulate that?

Training today:
(am) 1.5 hr bike with Sara (25 miles easy pace)
(pm) track workout with BMRC
I should do abs, like actually do them instead of just writing it here in my blog!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Day 14 = Beautiful

Savoring was good to focus on. It has been a while since I told my brain to "hey! stop and slow down! What are all of my senses picking up on here?"
It was really nice, albeit difficult. Anyone that knows me knows that me slowing down or being "patient" is asking a lot. However, with some heightened awareness and sensitivity even my hyper-warp speed can be reduced (slightly and if only momentarily).

Day 14 = Beautiful
I am beautiful and today I will appreciate my beauty, both inner and outer.
Cue Christina Augerlia song...

This is really an issue that hits home for me.
As hard as it is to mention, I really really struggle with a poor self image (body image) and it's been a battle my whole life. I'm not sure if this is largely female in nature (thanks US media crrrap) or not, but I know it's been a struggle for me for as long as I can remember.

The funny thing is that I have an identical twin sister- Heidi.
Although Heidi and I share the same DNA (freaky!) she is pretty much my opposite in many ways: From her love of late nights and cigarettes, to loathing workouts and sweat, we have many polar opposites, including body image.

I will put on a pair of pants that fit sung..OK, they are ass-hugging tight. I'll look at myself in the dressing room mirror and refuse to come out. Heidi, with the same pants on, will say "damn these are tight. They make my ass look really good! I mean, I wont be able to sit down or whatever, but damn! look at my ass! Purchase!"

WTF? Why can't I be like that? Why can't I just say "F" you all, I'm getting some tight pants.
I digress.....

That's why its so important to feel beautiful from the inside out. Take note of what makes you beautiful and cherish it. Although you may not like body part x,y,z, I'm sure someone else loves it!

Training today:
Morning with with 'Nova Masters @ 6am - an AWESOME 5100 yards. Kick-ass!
Afternoon 6 miler with BMRC through the hills of Bryn Mawr.
PLYOMETRICS!! And abs abs abs...I need to build my muscle strength here

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Day 13 = Savor

As a short recap from yesterday...
Consistency is so important.
However, when consistency cannot be maintained, for whatever reason, savor it.
We are only human and growth opportunities can come from many situations and circumstances.
If it's consistency that you crave, do what you can to insure it, but also be mindful to embrace the opportunities inherent in chance when consistency is lost.

Day 13 = Savor
Today, savor with all our senses: sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch.
When is the last time you truly savored an experience with all of your senses?
This can even be during a work out today, if you have one planned.
Imagine savoring your body, your ability, and the momentum you create during your workout.
Savor the satisfaction that comes with pushing your body and expanding your mind.

We should all find great satisfaction is savoring with our senses today.

Training today:
45 min spin + 30 mins hot asana yoga (I LOVE this)
1 hour track workout with BMRC @ 6pm (unless it rains! then it will be a 4pm run)
30 mins spinning at home and maybe some ab work

Side experiment I want to share:
I have decided to wear my Heart Rate Monitor (Polar RS300) for a straight 24 hours, just to see what my total energy expenditure is really like over a 24 hour period. I will do this twice, to get an average. Isn't that supposed to make it more scientific?

Current Stats:
22 hours into test #1
Total calories burned = 3240
Current HR = 55

Monday, April 20, 2009

Day 12 = Consistency

Awesome. Consistency. That's a great way to rub in my face that I didn't blog over the weekend! Bad consistency, bad!

Anyhow...Day 12 = Consistency.
Am I staying consistent? How does consistency feel versus randomization?
Which one is preferred?

This word is huge for me.
I need consistency, I crave consistency.
It is something I need to work on and focus on or else I will be too random...not a good thing for training or performance.

Training today:
Light 1 hr. spin
Swimming in the pm!

Results from the race.
Much slower than I wanted to run but 2nd in my age group and 7th female overall.
Ha! I might be becoming a runner.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Day 11 = Action

Did you show gratitude yesterday?

I actually ended up sending some sunflowers ( to a good friend who recently lost her boyfriend Todd. Todd was a good friend of mine as well.
I know the silent, invisible pain of tragic, sudden loss and wanted to send her something that could lift her spirits during this tough time- hopefully it will be a great kickoff for the weekend. Beyond that, I knew that Todd would think the gesture would be "pretty cool."
Ahhhh, warm fuzzy.

I was thrilled to enjoy the beautiful sunny day with Sara in the morning and a few friends from BMRC and the Phila Tri Club (and Rob!) in the evening.
I learned about nutrition while sipping some wine- ha!
I love triathletes!

Turns out I need more carbs. Good thing Peeps, are nothing but carbs! Yippee!!

Day 11 = Action. Understand the power of cause and effect.

This is another very simple yet often overlooked concept.
Each action has an equal and opposite reaction.
With cause, there is effect.
However, causation is not always correlation (thanks statistics)

This is pretty cool when applied to a training aspect.
If you are stuck, stalled, or not where you want to be - why?
What actions are keeping you there, keeping you stuck?
Maybe you should implement an experiment, a change, to see what the effect will be.
Try a new action- just for the hell of it- and see what happens.

If you keep bashing your head against a wall, and your head hurts, try another action. Am I being clear here?

This is also very empowering. All we have to do is make a change in action to see a change in result. We have the capability for action, for change. How very empowering indeed.

I hope my readers will take a moment and identify an aspect in their life that has maybe grown stale, stubborn, or unwavering.

Step 1: Identify your previous actions- what have you been doing, what are you currently doing?
Step 2: Decide on a course of action- what will you change?
Step 3: Implement change of action
Step 4: Observe results
Step 5: Repeat as needed/desired

Training today:
Lunch time run of 1 hour.
PM swimming with the best USMS Masters swimming group ever.
Stretch and hydrate today!!

I'm racing tomorrow and feel awesome right now.
I am really gunning for a PR (or close to it) but I just want to be competitive and give it my all. Leave it all on the road.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Day 10 = gratitide

Day 10 = Gratitude

"Be grateful. All will admire and revere you. You will reap a rich harvest of peace and immortal bliss." ~Swami Sivananda

That is all I want to leave you with today.
Short, simple, succinct.

I hope that this "project" is going well for readers.
I am enjoying this very much and it's been helpful to focus on acute aspects and feelings each day.

Training today- OFF DAY!
I'm going to really use this time to stretch my body and mind. Hop into a nice flowey pilates class at 4:30pm and enjoy the sunshine.

It finally feels like spring.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Day 9 = Belief

Were you quiet yesterday?
How did it turn out?

I practiced being quiet while I was in the middle of running intervals. I needed to focus on anything but the feeling and intensity. I practiced "quietness" on my 3rd 800m repeat at 5k pace (6:06 on the treddy). I just focused inward, felt my breath, and let my legs do the work- trusting my body and my ability.

Presto! 800m done and it felt pretty darn good! (which was a blessing considering I had a 1 mile at 10k pace right after! What a work out.

Today's word = Belief.
Belief in your goals and your dreams.
To believe in yourself; that you can accomplish all that you want.

How empowering is this word! To say "yes, I can. I believe in myself."
It brings an instant smile to my face.

It's also empowering because it's all internal. You carry belief from within. No one can take it from you. It is yours and yours alone. Belief is intimate and personal. How amazing is belief?!

Today, practice what you believe in, and make sure that includes yourself.
Notice how your head lifts, your heart becomes light, and an instant sense of well being begins to travel within yourself. Believing in yourself connects the heart and head together. A simple act that often gets detached through the day to day trials of doubt and disbelief.

Training today:
Mmm slept in this am...I need it after swimming prac ends at 9pm!
(pm1) running with BMRC
(pm2) more swimming, maybe on my own tonight.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Day 8 = Quiet

Day 8; Quiet.
Try to have a quiet mind today.
Block out un-needed thoughts or noise.

Take a moment to stop and listen to your mind.
Do you hear all that? All that noise?
Our minds are constantly buzzing, humming, moving, thinking.
It takes real effort to quiet that down.
This is why meditation is a practice, a discipline. It's hard.

I often think that I am drawn to activity, to sport, because it naturally quiets my brain noise.
When I'm moving my body, my mind is at rest. It becomes more quiet and still. My mind goes on auto-pilot while my body takes over, moving in rhythm with motion.

This morning I started my day with an awesome 45 mins of spinning followed directly by 30 mins of yoga (a vinyasa blend).

This class is so super great because it practices the Yin and Yang of sport and action.
The Yin is the high energy, while the Yang is the balance, the harmony, the peace.
I should also mention that yoga is no joke after spinning.
Have you ever tried to do chair pose for a minute after hard spinning? Try it!! Then try it while practicing being quiet. Tough stuff. I love it.

Yoga is great for practicing being quiet and I love yoga in the morning especially- even more so than lunch time or evening. It preps my day for harmony and peace and promotes a healthy outlook in a multitude of ways.

Today, try to lead your day with quiet patience, with balance, peace, and harmony.
When the noise starts to get loud, close your eyes, take a deep breath and exhale quietness.

Enjoy the silence.

Training today:
(am) spinning + yoga; aka: Yes+ class
(pm1) running; track workout with BMRC unless raining then 800m repeats
(pm2) possible technique swim with the wetsuit. Thanks Xterra!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Day 7 = Expectation

Day 6 recap:
Yesterday was delightfully sunny but still a bit chilly, especially with the wind. Rob accompanied me on my 2 hr run (about 14.5 miles).
It was a nice pace- around 8 min miles and my HR stayed around 145-150.
The run out half way was very nice and I even got a few miles in under 8 min pace...however, that was not the goal of the run and we scaled it back a bit on the way home.

I rotate my running shoes every few runs or so just to give my feet a break and help with some extra ankle support. However, I think I need to retire my Nike Pegasus (love these shoes) and get another neutral trainer to replace them. I've been eyeing some Asics Cumulus/Nimbus for quite the time so I may try a pair on the next time I'm at BMRC, which will be tomorrow...lucky them).

Anyhow- due to Easter, the gym closed early at 3pm which kinda shot the rest of my planned workouts. I contemplated running again for workout #2 but that wouldn't be smart- especially since I'm racing on Saturday. I just enjoyed my time off, stretched out and relaxed; practicing the fine art of recovery. ..with another Ommegang

Today's word = Expectation- Do I expect it to happen? I CAN make this happen. Expectation can be tricky, like emotions.

For a competitive athlete, you want to have high(ish) expectations, but not overly high as to become regarded as "that crazy girl" by your friends and family.

Expectation also has a lot to do with believing in yourself. This is the first step towards real accomplishment. At a point, victories and failures don't really come with surprise. You have an expectation about how you may perform.

So- today I may take a moment and think about my expectations of myself. What do I want for my self, what do I expect for me?

Training today:
@ 5pm, light jog and yoga + abs
@7:30 swimming with the GA Masters!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Day 6 = Desire

As a recap first...

Yesterday was so awesome. Coach and I went to Columbia, MD for a test run of the Columbia Tri course- the bike and run portion. DANG that is one hilly course. That means we got a great workout in and I had a super fun time! I'm very thankful that I got a look at the course before the race b/c I would never have thought that a race course would be that challenging.

Our times were OK...considering my bike malfunctions (grr!) and it wasn't anywhere close to a race effort:
Bike = 26 miles @ 16 mph avg.
Run = 6.2 miles @ 50.56 time overall (not pushing this, my HR avg was 155).

That leads me on to today; Desire.
It sounds sexy but really Desire is just about going for what you want.
I want to be a fast triathlete and the healthiest person I can be.
I recognize that it's a journey and that patience is a huge part of that journey.
Too bad for me, I'm not that patient, but I am working on that too! :)

This blog has been good for my patience, my attitude, and my perspective on things thus far.
I have to say that I have always had desire to achieve. Sometimes it just takes more effort to drive that desire than others.

I hope that nothing holds you back from accomplishing your own desires.

For the schedule today:
2 hour run (gonna aim for around 14.5-15 miles)
Schwimming at the pool
Plyometrics and lifting

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Day 5 = Attitude

Day 5 = Attitude. Stay positive and have a positive outlook. Think about what your proud of (assuming that you want to assume a positive attitude that is.)

Attitude is huge. I think its very important if you're on a team, but as an athlete in general, attitude is still key.

I have a hard time being positive all the time:
Maybe its because I'm always running with fatigue.
Maybe its because I haven't had as much coffee as I'd like.
Maybe its because I live in Philadelphia and a bad attitude is guaranteed along with outrageous pointless taxes and cheese steaks.
Or maybe its because having a positive attitude takes a lot of energy and hard work and its hard to maintain.

Whatever the reason, maintaining a positive attitude is important to focus on. It is hard. It takes effort and practice and yes, it appears some people are simple "better" at it than others.

Today I'll be going on a mini-road trip with Coach to Columbia, MD. We are planning on running through the bike and run portion of the Oly Tri course there as a re-event prep. The Columbia Tri is "kind of a big deal" and lots of fast people come out to play.

I think this run through will give me a great sense of familiarity and help to easy my anxiety around racing new course (well, really any course).

Back to attitude- we just need to be mindful of it.
I was definitely a Negative Nancy last night b/c I was super tired after riding out to Valley Forge in record time. That combined with my power-run over lunch, the end of another long work week AND no caffeine left with with a less than pleasant attitude (Sorry Rob).

It takes time and patience to turn it around but with practice I hope that my attitude will remain as consistent as my training.

Happy weekend.

Friday, April 10, 2009

post tri season marathon planning

It's been a few years since my last (and first) marathon. Ample time to forget about just how bad it hurts. Wait, yup, I still kinda forget??

So, it's time to plan the next run. I know I will blow my previous time outta the water but its always great for me to have these types of events to look forward to. PLUS Rob wants to run it with me. Actually, it was his idea! I'm very excited for us to share pain together.

So, will it be the Marine Corps Marathon in DC or the "Yo, why da hell youz runnin' so faar" marathon in Philly.

Day 4= Apprechiation

As a recap, Day 3 went really really well.
I think that focus (day 1) + patience (day 2) = Holly being happier (and other positive emotions) (day 3).

How about that equation. Is it due to random chance or error? Maybe cause and effect?

I'm not sure and refuse to think about statistic-like things this early but I'm happy with how it worked out for me and I think I may try to make it more of a habit.

I think by practicing patience yesterday --> allowed me to really reap the benefits of rest and recovery --> allowing me to have awesome workouts all day long --> which makes me happy!

Cycling felt great (after a substantial warm up) and I love biking into work. Stupid people driving stupid cars aside, I really enjoy it as a way to start my day. Nothing better than sunshine. Dare I say, it might even beat espresso.

My run in the afternoon was fast and fun! I cranked out a nice 7 miles in under 1 hour (7.50 pace) and my legs felt grrrreat! This was even on hills!

I'm really happy with my heart too...
which brings me to today's word= Appreciation.
My resting heart rate is between 38-42. My recovery time (in terms of heart rate) is super fast. Even yesterday, when I was cranking out sub-8 min miles on hilly terrain, my heart rate averaged right around 152-155. That's pretty awesome.

I'm so appreciative of my body and my physiology. Sure I'm not happy with my own body image but my body's physiology is top-notch. At least I got one thing going for me!

I've always felt that I've been blessed with strength and endurance. Ever since I was a little girl I always felt that I could push my body in ways that other girls couldn't. Now that I'm older, I've found other strong ladies to hang out with and we enjoy being strong together :)

In other words, I'm very appreciative for my friends, family, and many many other situations and circumstance that have come my way. I feel strongly that everything happens for a reason and that we are all on our own unique path. The best way to tell if you are on or off your path is to listen- listen intuitively and by using all senses.

Be open to listening and hearing as much as you can- even if its in silence.

Appreciate yo'self and others today.
TGIF Y'all!

Oh today:
(lunch time) 1 hour run; ~6 miles
(pm1) cycling, in the traininer BOO rain; 2 hours
(pm2) schwimming!! 1.5hrs at GA Academy

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Day 3 = Emotion(al)

Day 3 = Emotions- Tap into your emotions today. What are you telling yourself?

" Hi. My name is Holly. I'm female. I have emotions. Lots of them. I think I'm an emotion-addict." (insert group response of "Hi Holly." here).

If to err is human, then to be emotional is to be female! I swear. Maybe it's just me (and my twin sister Heidi) but damn I'm emotional and not just because Auntie Flowgonnamakeyourweeksuck is here either.

My emotions can be very helpful or very destructive. I'm sure this is true for many folks as well. In fact I know it is- that's a big part of my fascination with Psychology and the study of human behavior in general.

That aside, today I'm going to focus on my emotions and what they really mean. Emotions can be tricky and deceiving. So the challenge today is to second-guess your emotions what what you think they mean. What is the root of that feeling? Where is it really coming from?

Also, I'm going to try to stay cognisant of the previous "action words" as well. I'm sure I will only be able to do this for so long, but in so far the list includes: Focus, patience, and emotions.

One last thing I want to add.
I have a new favorite thing I want to share: Egyptian Licorice Tea.
I love licorice flavor so this is an easy taste for me to enjoy, however it may not be for everyone. If you are ever in your market and see Yogi Tea- try this flavor. Or if you see ME you can hit me up for a bag too.

Training for today:
Cycling in the am + commute to work = 130 mins to + 50 mins back = 2 hours 20 mins.
Running @ 6pm (kinda to make up for yesterday) with Rob!! = 1 hour (~7 miles)
Lifting + plyometrics + stretching = 1 hour at La Fitness
Swimming..this is only a slight chance...if I don't get it in today, I'll be hooking up with Villanova on Sunday am!

Enjoy your emotions everyone!

Day 2 rewind

Good morning!
First off I want to speak briefly on Day 2- Patience.
My workouts yesterday were quite voluminous- as usual.
I keep feeling like I wanted to get up and run a nice steady 10 miles or so, but when my legs would engage, my hammys sent major pain signals all over! After going through a nice internal struggle, I figured that I should practice patience and take the day off for recovery. I knew that if I kept pushing my legs that I would just feel like crap for longer!

Although it's hard for any athlete to "take off" that's just me...I thought that I needed to be patient with my body and my recovery when I need it. Simply put, you can't accurately schedule when your body will need recovery or not. If your body sends the signals to ease off, then the best thing to do is listen.

Listening for me meant trying not to be so down on myself for needing the recovery.
Rob and I actually decided to spend some quality time together and went out for dinner and drinks. This was such a treat for us- not only because its the middle of the week but also because we don't get to do this that often with his Law school and my training obligations.

I really enjoyed our time together and the tasty beer I sampled from Ommegang brewery.
I can't say enjoy about this brewery. I love everything Ommegang (and everything Rob too). I love Rob. I love Ommegang. It was a great Wednesday night!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Day 2 = Patience

Yesterday was more difficult than I thought. It turns out that focusing can be easier than figuring out what exactly to focus on. I felt like I had too many things floating around in my mind- which one am I supposed to focus on? Should I be focusing on everything? Only one thing? What's a girl to do?!

That's one reason why I'm pleasantly surprised at my word selection for today: Patience. Ahh...I already feel a sense of relief!

Patience- Reaching your goals is not a race, it takes time. Goals take patience.

Amen! This is a great mantra for me to recite often. I am usually very hard on myself and am quick to be overly self-critical. However, the truth is that I am only human. I err, I make mistakes, and I need to allow myself to have patience with me! How novel. Why haven't I thought of this and "focused" on "patience" before.

I feel like this could be big for me.

So for today- I will exercise patience: patience with myself and with others.

As far as my training goes:
Today I'm going to get some good running miles in. (I hope it stays sunny outside!)
Over lunch = ~5.5 miles
6:00-7:00pm = ~6 miles
7:30-8:30pm = swimming around 4,600 yards.

All with patience for my results and long-term goals in mind.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Day 1 = Focus

Interestingly enough, today I drew my first "action word": Focus.
How appropriate.

Focus- Focus on your goals and dreams today.

Achieveing goals and reaching dreams requies focus. So, what does it mean to have and maintain focus? How long can one focus? How much energy does it take? Should it get easier with practice?

Today I will maintain my focus.
For me, that means honing in on my goals of triathlon, my training, and my work.

Today's workout includes a 1.5 hr bike, a 1 hour run, and a 1 hour swim.
I plan on running over my lunch break.
Cycling at the gym after work (its going to rain today) and then swimming after the cycling. I'm looking forward to the workouts and will do my best to maintain my focus leading up to my workout and sustaining my focus throughout it.

Check back in and I'll let you know how it goes!

Focus for 30 days

In attempts to streamline my life and obtain an enhanced sense of clarity and "stillness" in my mind, I've decided to put my psche on a bit of an excerise program. More specifically, I would like to try to challenge myself and my mind to focus on one positive action word for 30 days. I'm thinking of this as kind of a mental experiment- Let's see what happens when I block out as much excess and noise as possible to focus accutly on one important adjective. It couldn't hurt, could it?

My methodology is simple. I have previous created 30 "action words" and have simply printed them on sheets of paper. I've folded each little piece of paper and placed all 30 into a bag. I will draw one piece of paper for the next 30 days and blog about the word, what it means to me and how I "hear" it throughout that day.

Feel free to join in!