Archive for August, 2014

Happy Sunday, Gang!

First question – HOW IS IT ALMOST SEPTEMBER?!  What the heck!

Anywho…now that that’s out of the way…..

 

As a coach, an athlete, friend, daughter, cousin, and sister….but most specifically as an athlete and coach….I find that keeping a positive attitude about the workout or practice or run or experience makes all the difference.

We’ve all seen the cliché sayings/images that read something like this:

 

Or like this:

 

And honestly, as a coach and an athlete, they’re incredibly helpful and true.  A few people who take my spinning classes read this blog – they can attest to the positive nature in which I approach working out.  Often you’ll hear me say things to the class like….

“Yes, you can!”

“Stop telling yourself no.  Change your attitude!  You love this.”

“You’re already doing it, keep going.”

“DO. NOT. STOP.”

and my favorite….

NEVER GIVE UP ON YOURSELF!  THERE IS NEVER A GOOD TIME TO GIVE UP!

This is me and my attitude TO A “T”.

I mentioned, about a week ago, about my experience with The Steamtown Marathon last year.  I have not divulged all of the details of said Marathon.  There were a lot of things were not perfect for that day.  There were a lot of things that did not go my way that day.  In fact, one might even say it was THE WORST EXPERIENCE I’VE EVER HAD WHILE DOING A RACE….and yes, Heather and Jen….it even includes the monsoon we ran in during THE LOVE RUN half marathon in March (which we are TOTALLY doing again this year!)

I find that through awful experiences, it’s important to not just accept that you are not having a great time but to see how you can improve for the future and most importantly LEARN from said experiences.  I’ll admit it.  I was incredibly defeated after the marathon.  I stopped posting on here.  I stopped talking about running.  In many ways, I stopped believing in myself.

After a few months….okay, let’s be real…more like 5 or 6 months…I finally reclaimed my stake in enjoying running.  On many runs since then, I have been able to refocus and reevaluate what I did wrong and what I did (if at all) right.

Here’s what I learned:

1.  I was WAY over trained.  Prior to the Steamtown, I had only ran 1 other marathon.  I got it into my head that I could just – Poof! – qualify for Boston.  I know, I’m crazy.  I started following a running plan that was going to make me faster and have me running like 6 times a week.  Keep in mind, many of my friends know I already do this but I am not always running the same distances….I just enjoy running – some times is 2 miles…some times its 8.  It varies.  I don’t have any real goal.  This training plan, however, had me checking times…and doing intervals.  I didn’t realize how “in over my head” I was until it was too late and I was burned out mid training.

2.  Mind REALLY DOES CONQUER over Matter.  I have witnesses than can verify this:

I broke down at mile 14.  My hips started seizing at mile 8 but I pushed through.  Steamtown DOES NOT have a half marathon, like many other marathons….there was no “stopping” until 26.2.  I turned the corner at 13.8 and thank god I had my phone on me….I called my Dad.  No answer.  I called my Mom.  No answer.  I called my sister.  No answer.  I called my Dad, again.  No answer.  I called my sister, again…..she picked up.

The tears just overflowed.  There was no stopping them.  I was walking.  Crying.  Grabbing my hips.  Becoming hysterical.  Basically, what it felt like, was the tops of my legs (you know, where they fit into your hip socket?) were grinding into my hips….BONE ON BONE.  Of course, I don’t think this was really the case…my body was just in all sorts of a mangled position.

As I turned the next corner and continued to cry to my father on the phone – who, as a side note, told me there is no shame in not finishing, especially if I am hurt – an ambulance appeared.  I ended up sitting in said ambulance for a good 20 minutes.  I calmed down.

I contemplated not finishing.  I contemplated just being driven to the finish line. One of the EMT guys on a bike offered to ride next to me for the next mile if I wanted to continue.  These are the things that went through my head:

OMG, PAIN!

I can’t stop.  I’ll be a quitter.

I always tell people to keep going – if I stop now, I’ll be a hypocrite (and yes, I realize I shouldn’t care what people think).

Mind over matter, Katie.  You can do this.

Would it be the worst thing in the world to stop?  Plenty of people don’t finish Marathons.

YES IT WOULD BE TERRIBLE TO NOT FINISH!  HEATHER AND JEN CAME UP HERE TO WATCH YOU RUN AND EVERYONE KNOWS YOU’VE BEEN TRAINING FOR THIS.  DONTGIVEUPONYOURSELFYOUCANDOTHIS.

So basically….I decided to keep going.  I got out of the ambulance.  Started running.  The EMT guy could only follow me for a mile…and I went three more miles before walking.  Found some strength….went another 3 miles.  By the time I got to mile 21 I was like…that’s it, I’m done.  But I was at mile 21!  I couldn’t give up then.

I told myself – no matter how you do it, just finish.  At that point so many things didn’t matter.  And yes, you could say it was a pride/ego thing….but I knew that I could finish.  I found a nice woman who hung with me – walked – talked – jogged – for the last four miles.  Until I finally crossed the finish line.

3.  If I had not pushed myself – just a little bit more – I would be incredibly disappointed.  I know.  I get it.  It’s okay to not always finish things, especially if you physically can not.  Unfortunately, I am incredibly stubborn.  I couldn’t help but think:

-If I give up on myself, how will I carry out other incredibly difficult tasks in the future?

-If I stop running, what does that say for my belief in myself?

-If I don’t finish, what will this mean for any task I try to take on in the future?  That if it gets too hard – mentally or physically – I’ll just say…well it’s okay, I tried.

But then I remembered Yoda:

You either do, or you do not.  Simple.

The choice was mine.  I decided to take the harder of the two.

And I was (and still am) incredibly happy/proud of my perseverance.

There are eleventy billion articles about the power of positive thinking and sports.  You can google them for your reading pleasure.

Basically, what I’m getting at is this:

STAY POSITIVE

DON’T GIVE UP ON YOURSELF

ANYTHING WORTH DOING WILL BE A LITTLE (OR A LOT) DIFFICULT

YES, YOU CAN

STOP TELLING YOURSELF “NO”

YOU GOT THIS

JUST KEEP GOING

 

A bit of a detour today….we will return to our regularly scheduled fitness blog tomorrow.  For now…..I’d like to talk about something that is near and dear to my heart.

 

I have definitely expressed my passion for coaching young women and girls of all ages.  I’ve also expressed my desire to teach them pride, courage, respect, and honor in what they do, who they are, and in their dreams.  While many of you have seen that side of me, many of you do not know my background in education and the compassion I feel for women, sports, and gender equality in general.

In Grad school I had to write a Thesis (as many of us do) in order to graduate.  It could be about ANYTHING so long as it pertained to broadcast and cinematic arts…and even then it could be stretched ever-so-slightly.  I decided to do research on women in sports and the amount of time devoted to women’s sports on television – primetime or otherwise.  I specifically looked at the 2004 Olympic Games as a basis for some of my research with a strong emphasis on feminism.  *I wish I could have done a bigger study but with my resources and time, this was what I worked with.  Basically, what I found was that despite the same time allotment for men and women during prime time TV hours, the specific women sports that were shown were: Beach Volleyball, Gymnastics, and Swimming.  Anyone take a gander why?

These are the sports that show the most skin.  Women are seen as more “feminine” in these sports.  They don’t necessarily go against “gender roles” as perceived by the public arena.

To me this begs the question(s):

WHY DO WE HAVE TO VIEW WOMEN JUST AS A GENDER?  WHY CAN’T WE SEE THEM AS ATHLETES?  AS BUSINESS OWNERS?  AS CEO’S?  AS MOTHER’S (sometimes playing the roles of both parents)? AS POLITICIANS WHO ARE NOT TOO “GIRLY” or “SENSITIVE”?

The want for equality is such a huge factor.  EVERYWHERE.  Some countries have different gender roles and those countries/social constructs are entitled to their lifestyle.  Personally, I feel like more people should be excited to say things like, “YOU THROW LIKE A GIRL” or “YOU RUN LIKE A GIRL”.  Because, why is that a bad thing?  Why is doing anything like a girl supposed to automatically mean it’s less than?

If you’re not from the Philadelphia area, it’s possible you haven’t heard this story but if you watch ESPN at all, you have most likely heard of Mo’ne Davis.  If you have no idea who I’m talking about – the full and INCREDIBLE story can be found here.

Here are her stats:

Age: 13

Position: Pitcher

Pitch Speed: 55-75 mph (yes, it’s true)

Gender: FEMALE

Description: She is just the 18th girl to play in the Little League World Series in Williamsport, PA.  She is also one of the ONLY female pitchers to throw back to back shut outs (just recently).  She is smart.  Humble.  Most importantly, SHE THROWS LIKE A GIRL.  Who’dve thunk it?

 

She doesn’t play to play like a girl or a boy…she plays because she LOVES the sport.  Is she an exception?  Possibly….but she doesn’t have to be and, more importantly, shouldn’t be.  Doing ANYTHING like a girl shouldn’t be considered less than.

Let me ask you a few questions, if you still don’t believe me…….

1.  If you run like a girl…does that mean you won’t win any marathons?  I think Deena Kastor and Shalane Flanagan would have something to say about that…..

2.  If you play baseball like a girl….does that mean you won’t throw any shut outs or throw a complete game on 71 pitches because it’s a “boys sport”?  I think Mo’ne would have something to say about that

3.  If you play basketball like a girl….does that mean you won’t be able to beat boys at their own game?  I think Brittney Griner would have something to say about that…..

4.  If you play soccer like a girl….does that mean you’ll never win a world cup? or a national title?  I think Mia Hamm has something to say about that…..

5.  When you think of the world’s best swimmer…..do you only think of Michael Phelps?  Or you do also think of Missy Franklin?

6.  If your daughter or daughters or athletes or students want to learn a sport or do an activity…..who are you going to point out someone to look up to?

7.  Wouldn’t you be flattered to be thought of as a girl who runs like Shalane?  A girl who pitches like Mo’ne?  A girl who dunks like Brittney?  A girl who kicks like Mia? or a girl who makes a splash like Missy?

Don’t even act like you wouldn’t.

Yes, you can argue that these cases are exceptional…..but let’s be honest…I don’t have all day to give you all the examples that no longer make the above exceptions.

I leave you with one final video and I am open to comments (so long as they are valid and not derogatory) and opinions.

 

I’ll ask one more time…..what’s so wrong with doing anything “like a girl”?

A brief note before I follow up with ALL THE REASONS

Dear friends and followers,

It has been eleventy billion hours since I last posted (yes, that is to the exact minute) on the internets.  I’ve missed you.  I think it’s time for me to come back.  As per the usual…life has been busy….jobs…life…blah blah blah.  I’ll spare you all the excuses.  Because excuses are like A-holes….everybody has one….right?  See…didn’t you miss me?

I have still been keeping up with running and fitness and all that jazzy jazz…..which is why I know that coming back will only be a continuation but also include some new and exciting stuff for me and YOU!  Yay!

Lastly, before I get to all the real ISH…..If you didn’t miss me at all….no worries..because I don’t believe I am that important that it matters anyway 🙂  (awww, listen to me acting all martyr-ish)  For reals though.  I’m just happy people are out there that are even interested….truth be told, I know my dad and stepmom read it…so I got that goin for me 🙂

AAAAAAAAAnd Scene.

Sincerely yours,

k8efitz

 

AAAAAAAAAND NOW!  Back from the depths of the other side of the world but really the suburbs of Philadelphia….me 🙂

 

CATHARSIS:  The last year has been a roller coaster to say the least.  We can all agree that it happens in each one of our lives. 

I was holding on for dear life

Overall, things in general are good.  I have my health, my family, my friends.  All good things.  Several cathartic experiences helped my journey to this point but it was with one major swoop that I managed to find The Four Agreements and The Mastery of Love that helped me regain my semblance of self and worth.  If you have never heard of these books, I highly recommend them.  Don Miguel Ruiz – The Four Agreements and The Mastery of Love.  You will be doing yourself a favor

It is from these four ideals that we are able to release what we used to think about life and to move forward in order to be a better person.  Inevitably, we have to be the best we can be for ourselves first before we even attempt a relationship.  And I’ve tried to maintain some interesting relationships…friendship or otherwise….the biggest ideal: Don’t take anything personally – is SO EYE OPENING.  Do yourself a favor and check them out.

Because of the emotional catharsis, I’ve been able to improve in all aspects of my life.

My yoga is bendy-er….my cycling/spinning is funner (yes, I know I’m an english teacher and YES, I know that’s not a word….WHO CARES)….my running is safer, cleaner, and more fulfilling than ever before.  My mind finally gets it…and my body is following along.

 

HUBRIS:  Truth be told…a great deal of why I haven’t posted here in the last eleventy billion hours is tied to my hubris.  I am a work in progress…like everyone else.  I am unique…like everyone else (get it?) But for awhile, I was allowing my own stupid pride and fact that I have failed so often, get in the way of being real for myself and all of you.

The last series of posts I wrote on here dealt a lot with my Marathon Training for The Steamtown Marathon last October.  Truth:  I almost didn’t finish.  Had it not been for my amazing support from my dear DEAR friends Heather and Jen….and of course my father who finally picked up the phone when I called him at mile 14 hysterical…..I would have undoubtedly DNF and felt FUBAR’ed……

While I am not going to recap my experience or disappointment, I was emotionally broken down after that race.  I had no desire or love for running and because I used to find so much of my happiness in doing so, I felt lost….sad….concerned I might never recover.  It was weird…and I will get into that for another post with specifics to running…but for now…just know….I am not going to allow my stupid pride get in my way…..

 

OTHER $10 WORDS: 

AMALGAM – Me to a “T” these days.  I am all over the place but the thing I’m maintaining is my workout regiment.  Thank god for running, biking, yoga, and other extra curriculars….

INCREDULOUS – That 2014 is more than half over, that I am where I am today, that I have an INCREDIBLE support system in place, and mostly that things might not always be presented to me in the way I expect but they always have a tendency of working themselves out.

finally,

INTRANSIGENCE – Beyond everything else….I have persevered…and continue to work toward the many goals I have set for myself.  I’ve come to acknowledge and believe in the following(and if you know me, you know that it’s no surprise it’s an Emerson quote):

See you soon!