Archive for the ‘Fitness’ Category

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 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!

Okay, so none of that makes sense…UNLESS….you are an English teacher like myself OR you remember the analogies section from standardized tests.  But really, I think it’s an appropriate association…don’t you?  Good.  Glad we agree 🙂

Today is FRIDAY!!!!!  Which means…Five Things Friday.  Today, sticking with my theme of associations, I am doing a Five WORDS Friday…which will actually be more like 20 since there are four words in associations….

1.  Treadmill Running : Ugh :: Outside Running : YAY!

I have not been able to run outside much lately.  It’s been incredibly snowy up here in the Northeast…and it looks like we’re going to get even MORE snow next week.  woot.  Truth be told – I am okay with treadmill running but I really would like at least ONE run outside a week.  Temps say it is going to be close to 50 this weekend – HEAT WAVE!!!!  I’m on that like peanut butter’s on jelly…..(did I mention I really like peanut butter?)  Truth be told, I don’t mind running inside that much…if anything it lets me catch up on my Sportscenter…..

2.  Sweat Pants : My go-to clothing choice of late :: Yoga Pants : Not my go-to clothing choice of late

Whatever your comfy clothes preference is…lately, I have a three pair of sweat pants rotation – for when I am home, obviously not when I am teaching (although that would be amazing if I could wear them to school!).

3.  Swimming : My First Fitness Love :: Swimming : Something I always use as a fitness basis

While that analogy might not make sense…if you think about it…any one of us that has had a first love/relationship/etc…we ALWAYS remember that ONE.  Everyone always says, “You’ll never forget your first love” blah blah blah….right?  In my case, swimming was and always will be my first love and most important sport I’ve ever been involved with.

The reason I use Swimming as a fitness basis is because it is probably the ONLY sport where you are required to use EVERYTHING.  I mean, think about it….running, you primarily use your legs….biking, legs….soccer, legs…well you get the point.  I always try to explain to my swimmers how people who make fun of swimming are doing so because THEY DON’T GET IT.  They don’t understand how difficult it can be.  The true swimmers don’t see the difficulty….that’s what separates those who can and can not.  I always tell them, “if it were easy, everyone would do it”.

4.  Vegetarian : Veggies :: Pescatarian : Veggies + Fish

I am a vegetarian who dabbles in the pescatarian realm.  Truthfully, I love sushi….and all kinds of fish…so I eat it when I am out but that’s about it.  I won’t prepare it for a home cooked meal.  I know, I’m weird.  We all have our things.  I still laugh when people get worried or upset after I tell them my food choices.

Pretty much always

It’s nice that it’s more and more common these days for people to be Vegetarians as well as more restaurants accommodating those of us who choose to go without meat.  I tried to be a Vegan…for all of two weeks….I just couldn’t do it.  I workout WAY to much and would have to eat non-stop for me to go Vegan.  Plus….I like cheese…and eggs….and, well….I like them!

5.  Exercise : Fitness :: Diet : Healthiness

My fitness is determined by my exercise just as my healthiness is determined by my diet.  While they are all intertwined, I think it’s safe to say without a clear idea of what we want out of all of these, we aren’t going to get the results we hope for.  Goals are excellent ways to start our path to fitness and healthiness.  My goals this year involve more races and trying new experiences.  I am incredibly psyched for the Tough Mudder in April.  I am also excited for the Cherry Blossom 10 miler earlier that month!

And while I may pretty much be at a point where I am maintaining my fitness level, that doesn’t mean I can’t continue to work hard to feel better about myself.

Just remember, you have a choice….we all do.  If you don’t like the way things are….do something about it.  You’re worth it.

Have a great weekend!

While this is a pretty broad topic, I feel it’s safe to say….many people do not know their limits or boundaries when it comes to others.

Take, for example, when someone at the gym is lifting free weights and a fellow patron goes up to them to offer them their opinion about how and what they are doing correct/incorrect, etc.  There are a few issues with this situation:

1.  The person lifting didn’t ask for your opinion – although I am sure the person offering their opinion is an expert in the way of said exercise (please tell me you’re reading in to my sarcasm).

2. Unless you are a certified personal trainer….keep your thoughts and opinions to yourself…..and even if they are a personal trainer….that doesn’t always mean a whole lot.

As a fitness instructor and a coach, I am aware that my advice to people isn’t always what will work best for people.  I am aware, also, that not everyone wants my advice or opinion.  I often seen people at the gym doing the wrong exercises or wrong technique and some times cringe at their bad form.  BUT – it’s not my problem.

So now you’re saying..”but that’s not helpful…be a source of the solution and don’t be so passive to allow the problem continue”.  To that I would say….”you’re absolutely correct.  I am more than happy to help those that WANT the help…but if someone is carrying on and just doing their thing…who am I to tell them that they are wrong?”

More often than not, people feel as though they are being 1. helpful, 2. proactive, 3. caring, and 4. kind.

While I would say that these are all genuine feelings behind trying to offer advice….understand that if people want it…they will ask for it…..and if they don’t ask for it…..that is something they have to face on their own.

Many of the habits I learned in the gym and during sports or activities came from watching others.  I’ll admit though, I am incredibly proactive about improving and doing my best – it’s just in my nature.   In the case that people ARE looking for advice on exercise and/or advice with those you see doing the wrong thing at the gym….I have a few things that might help:

To the observer:

1.  Be patient.  If they want the help, they’ll ask for it.

2.  RE #1 – unless they are hurting themselves with the way they are lifting something or maneuvering equipment….let them watch someone else to figure out what they are doing wrong.

3.  RE #2 – if you are a fitness instructor with the proper technique and/or certification(s) – ASK THEM if they want some advice/help.  For example:  When I see someone on a bike before a class and it looks like their seat is too low or their straps are not tight enough on their bike…I say, “Would you like some help with that?” or “Does that bother your knees at all?” – in a NICE and non-condecending manner.  I also throw in, “If you try it this way, it might make a difference.”  People are much nicer to you when you don’t say, “Your form is all wrong…this is wrong…this is wrong…etc., etc”.

4.  When and IF they do ask for help…..be sure to tell them that your advice is merely based on your learnings/experience and that it works differently for everyone.  Remind them that they need to do what works best for them – not what works best for you.  As a fitness instructor and coach, I always tell my students and swimmers of the things I’ve done in the past, what’s worked for me, and what hasn’t worked for me.  With that, I also tell them that they should make sure whatever they do – it has to WORK FOR THEM.

 

To the person that is afraid to ask:

1.  DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP IF YOU AREN’T SURE.  I can not tell you how  many times I’ve had people say to me in a spin class, “I never knew how to adjust my seat”….or “I never knew that I would get a better workout this way”…or “if I had only known to buy new sneakers that it would’ve helped my joints”…etc.  I start every spin class (usually) with, “Do I have any new riders?”…especially if I have never seen them in my class before.  This usually helps alleviate some of the anxiety that people build up in their minds about “not knowing” what to do and “being afraid of looking like the newbie”.  EVERYONE HAS TO START FROM SOMEWHERE….You’re obviously interested in bettering your well-being….don’t be afraid to ask! 🙂

2.  Once you’ve asked for help…remember that you have to do what works for you.  IF a trainer or instructor tells you there is ONLY ONE WAY TO DO SOMETHING…more than likely they are incorrect.  THERE IS MORE THAN ONE WAY TO DO EVERYTHING (even in Math).

3. If you STILL can’t bring yourself to ask for help…..do your homework.  Observe others, read about fitness, read about healthy living, read about eating right.  Your health is on you.  OWN UP TO IT.

 

My questions for you are:

1.  Have you ever been approached by someone at the gym for advice?

2.  Have you ever given advice without it being warranted?

3.  What have you done in these situations?