Tag Archives: fitness

Weekly Photo Challenge: Boundaries

5 Oct
Boundaries...

ūüôā

Breaking through boundaries is fun sometimes …

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Weekly Photo Challenge courtesy of the Daily Post.

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Just-Do-It Character Even With Saucony Shoes

29 Jun

Even though the miles were the same and the landscape didn’t change, running through it, biking through it, and swimming through it made me different every time.

I don’t do it to lose weight, to work on my non-existent six-pack, or to post pictures with you-should-be-doing-this type of headlines in order shame or guilt moms with kids who are barely trying to survive ’till 7 p.m. I do it because it makes me feel good. It’s become part of my lifestyle, part of the routine that makes me feel like me, like that 2.0 version of yourself that’s always been there, the kind that comes out in a Just Do It commercial, the one that you produced.

Although I wish I didn’t have to recover with Alleve and BenGay the next day. But that’s what happens. You can’t fool your bones. They know you’re 39. They know it and they’re passing the message along to your muscles.

But regardless of how much menthol-smelling cream I need for my aches and pains the awesomeness I feel when I cross the finish line at the TinMan Triathlon keeps me going for at least a week or two. Even though I didn’t finish first, second, third, or even in the top 10, I still felt like a champion.

The hills were tough, but I kept going. Biking Devil’s Canyon was brutal, but I kept climbing. It kicked my ass, most definitely but I kept pedaling. And the swimming … well the swimming was so much better this time. Can’t say anything about the swimming, I felt like Michael Phelps. But no matter how challenging the other parts of the race were I kept going. I got the Just Do It vibe in me, even though I was sporting my Saucony running shoes.

And the thing I realized is that I passed that on to my son.

I was super proud of that fact. Proud of the fact that my son kept going after the lady handing out water during the running leg tripped him. Proud of the fact that after he fell hard, really hard on gravely road, he still got up. He scraped up his knee and the elbow was in need of some Neosporin and Band-Aids, but he didn’t give up. He needed a minute, but then he kept going, on to the biking phase, the swimming leg, and finally sprinting, not jogging or walking, but pumping his little arms and sprinting the last 20 yards to the finish line.

And I was there to watch him do it.

He raised his hands up in victory as they gave him his TinMan medal.

I was proud of his athletic accomplishment, but even prouder of his character, because he had Just Do It Character. Gatorade-commercial worthy character.

Yeah, this year the miles and scenery were the same, just like last year, and the year before that. But when we finished the race, we both had something different. I’m holding onto that for a while. I’m hoping he does too.

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How Wendy’s Almost Ruined Our Triathlon Triumph

30 Jun

For me it’s reaching the top of Devil’s Canyon without stopping … or falling … or passing out … that’s when it happens.

 

The gruesome uphill battle that begs for BenGay and Advil the next day.

The gruesome uphill battle that begs for BenGay and Advil the next day.

 

My quads are on fire, my back is aching, and my 38-year-old knees feel like they are 78. But I’m stubborn and I press on. In fact I don’t even want to look up for fear that my muscles will realize what’s in store for them, they’ll cuss me out, and I’ll just fall over. Mutiny.¬† So I turn up the volume of the iPod, dig deep, and believe that … “King Kong ain’t got nothing on me.”

Yeah … That’s probably what kept me going.

When I got to the top and saw Bob or Dave or Mitch — the volunteer in his bright green TinMan Triathlon shirt handing out water — I felt a sense of awesomeness overwhelm me and a smile stretched across my face as I yelled out: “Duuuuuuuuuuuude I’ve been thinking about you for miles!”

 

This was him ... the dude everyone was happy to see.

This was him … the dude everyone was happy to see.

 

I felt Gatorade-worthy.

It also happened when I took the plunge into the pool, feet first and feeling the cool waters wash over my weary muscles as I surged through the Olympic-sized pool for the first 25 yards …

I felt Gatorade-worthy.

And it happened most when I finally reached the finish line … I saw that red, blue, and yellow banner, and the clock ticking, so I sprinted to reach the end. I knew what was waiting for me … Yes there were high-fives and smiles and the awesome finisher medal that I wore all day but that was not it … It was the watermelon. The finish line watermelon. It’s the juiciest, sweetest, best-tasting reward on Earth. Nothing like it … Finish-line watermelon. I looked forward to it for miles.

It made me feel Gatorade-worthy.

All these moments … these were highlights that kept me going, these were the simple rewards that made me feel amazingly Guatacular all day. I bottle that stuff up and live off of that badass feeling for at least a week. And even though I was proud of myself for surviving Devil’s Canyon and thriving under the heat I was even prouder of my son. For the second time in his five-year old existence he successfully completed the Tiny Tot Triathlon.

 

And they're off!

And they’re off!

 

Dude.

You don’t even know.

I was one of those crazy parents cheering loudly at every leg of the race …

 

It was an easy and smooth transition. He remained serious despite my enthusiastic cheering.

It was an easy and smooth transition. He remained serious despite my enthusiastic cheering.

 

And just as I had my Gatorade-worthy moments and rewards he had his own. Jumping into the pool and being able to swim without me was something that both of us were ecstatic about.

 

Doggy-paddling his way to the finish.

Doggy-paddling his way to the finish.

 

However crossing the finish line and outrunning the two older kids in the green division was something he was high-fiving me about all day.

 

:)

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But I’m sad to say that the one reward he wanted that day for this awesome accomplishment didn’t quite happen and it almost ruined that amazing feeling — that emotional high that makes you feel great all day — that juice.

And who was to blame?

Who almost killed it?

 

:(

ūüė¶

 

Wendy’s … yeah I said it … it was Wendy’s and you almost killed it. I don’t know Dave Thomas, but I’m sure he would have been so disappointed.

My son has never had a Happy Meal. Never ventured into the Golden Arches … we’ve always been an In-and-Out kind of family. So when he finally asked for one it wasn’t the McDonald’s Happy Meal … it was the Wendy’s Kids Meal. That’s what he wanted … that was the reward he was looking forward to at the end of his race.

Why?

He’d been dreaming of that DC Comics Swooping Superman Glider and the Super Hero Training Comic Book that came with the meal. That was it. That was his “Finish-line watermelon”.¬† He’d seen the commercial for weeks and decided that that would be his prize. He was so excited that he decided we should order a kid’s meal for his sister too, just so she could get Wonder Woman’s invisible jet and they could form the mini Justice League.

I mean he has superhero action figures here, they both do, but these were Kids Meal DC Comic Superhero prizes and they were way better … they were “finish-line watermelon” so I agreed.

I understood.

So we drove twenty minutes out of our way to find the nearest Wendy’s because apparently there was no Wendy’s near the race.

He walked in wearing his medal, smiling the toothless kindergartener smile, and walked up to the register and ordered a kid’s meal … the one with the superheroes in it.

And then that’s when it happened.

The guy behind the counter just looked at me and shook his head.

Dude.

He had conquered the football field run, raced through the ginormous parking lot on two wheels, kicked and splashed his way past older kids, and sprinted to the finish line. He’d finished. He’d accomplished something big and had a medal to prove it. And we had driven … and driven … and driven in unknown neighborhoods misguided by our outdated Garmin GPS that didn’t even have the freeway we were driving on listed. But we drove and eventually got there ready to get that finish-line kids meal.

And they didn’t have it.

Wendy’s didn’t have it.

The look on my son’s face … Disaster.

I felt bad. His sister felt bad. The guy behind the counter felt bad.

My son assured him that they did have it. This was Wendy’s. He had seen the commercial. He needed to look again. It said that they were soaring into the kids’ meals.

Still nothing.

Dude … parent failure. My heart felt heavy.

The dude reached behind the counter for something else … some kind of connect-the-puzzle-pieces-transform-this-into-anything kind of toy.

My son looked at it bowed his head and slowly walked to the booth where he slumped down in the chair and waited for my arrival.

The guy behind the counter said they hadn’t had any of those in weeks and doubted that any other Wendy’s would have it either. I told him seeing how he was gainfully employed by Wendy’s he should use his connections to stop showing the commercial.

I looked back at my son … sigh.

“Dude. I’m gonna need some kind of chocolate or ice cream ’cause that plastic building set is just not gonna do it.”

Chocolate to the rescue.

 

 

No Need For Counting Calories … Really … No Need. It’s The Holidays.

9 Dec

I don’t understand why diets and holidays tend to come together. It’s really the worst time to watch what you’re eating.

People tend to restrict themselves and cut back because they’re watching their figure. I’ve seen the Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig commercials, as well as those gym commercials. People constantly wanting you to lose weight. Now I’m not saying some people don’t need to, I’m sure they do. But the majority of us fit in the “normal” category where love handles are accepted and we really shouldn’t be pressured to feel bad about it.

I mean these new “moms” posting pictures of themselves with abs of steel days after giving birth?

Dude cut it out.

I’m glad you think you look good. That’s great, but really … normal moms everywhere don’t need to see that. That does not fuel inspiration that fuels a are-you-fucking-kidding-me moment? I think I speak for most parents when I say that sleep usually overrides any workout plan, when you have a newborn that wakes you up every two hours.

But I digress.

Food and holidays go together. It’s a must, you can’t go depriving yourself around such a food extravaganza. Come January, February, March and the rest of the months of the year, with the exception of November, you can totally cut back. Count as many points and calories as you want. But feasting on Christmas should be mandatory. It’s not going to kill you. Really regardless of what WebMD might insinuate. It won’t. So splurge people, celebrate the love of food!

 

:)

ūüôā

 

Don’t take a little bit of this and not too much of that. Take what you want, it’s Festivus for crying out loud. I’ve never been fond of that “Less is More” mentality. I think less is less. More should be more, especially around the holidays. That’s when the great cooking comes out.

And if you live in a family like mine, it only happens once a year. People in my neighborhood stock up on Maizena and Farmer John’s Manteca. It’s a feast down here in Whoville with tamales galore. Some cooking geniuses even whip up pozole.¬†

Dude.

I don’t see tamales or pozole for another 364 days of the year so if I feast on three tamales or two bowls of pozole with a pound of bread I’m good. I’m content. I don’t feel bad. I don’t feel guilty. I feel awesome. And if I want to work out, it’s not so much because I feel bad about the food I ate, it’s because it’s already in my routine. It’s also probably the escape I need from the crazy that is my family holiday.

Now before all you health people start getting crazy on me let me just say, I’m not hating on health nut body building Jillian Michaels type of people or encouraging obesity, but I am in favor of enjoyment. You know, swimming in it. I am a food lover. And I look forward to things that I can only get once a year. No need for counting calories. Really. No need. It’s the holidays, people.

So women I encourage you, feel free to let loose on your holiday celebration. Loosen the belt, people. One or two feast nights won’t kill you. It really won’t. In fact I recently found out that it’s not diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol, or heart disease that kills us. According to the genius Louis CK it’s men. Men are the number cause of death for women. So if you want to avoid anything out there, you should really avoid the dude hanging out by the eggnog.

 

It Was a Team Effort

22 Oct

This race wasn’t about making it to the finish line. It was one of my slowest times ever, but I didn’t care. This one was about the people running and walking alongside of me and the reason why we were there.

This one was for my Dad.

Most of the time my competitive edge gets me and I nearly kill myself trying to keep up with the AARP Triathlon chick zooming passed me. But this time I was all right hanging back. In fact I actually¬†walked some of it and¬†for the first time walking didn’t seem to be an athletic failure in my jock-minded head. In fact, walking¬†was supposed to be part of the race. It was in the title.¬†But regardless of whether we were walking or running, I was glad to have shared this with my kids. I was glad they¬†knew what¬†we were doing and why. I was glad they took part in raising money for the American Lung Association.¬† I was glad they were doing it for my dad and for other people who were in my father’s shoes.

 

We started off with a little stretching

I wanted to hang back at the end, but The Little Guats decided to move to the front and join the warm-up party.

 

Then apparently some stretching.

Then apparently some stretching.

 

We said a little something about why we were doing it.

We said a little something about why we were doing it.

 

And then we were off ... after checking out the crowd I was happy that The Little Guats decided to move to the front of the line.

And then we were off … after checking out the crowd I was happy that The Little Guats decided to move to the front of the line.

 

A few participants needed a quick little break.

A few participants needed a quick little break.

 

As the race progressed my son developed a competitive edge. He saw a few boys ahead of us and decided to speed up our development.

As the race progressed my son developed a competitive edge. He saw a few boys ahead of us and decided to quicken the pace. 

 

In the end, my kids were happy to see the volunteers' signs and receive their high-fives on a job well-done.

In the end, my kids were happy to see the volunteers’ signs and receive their high-fives on a job well-done.

 

 

 

The Great Outdoors … My Lunkless Ticket To Fighting Fat Cells

17 Sep

 

 

The Lunk Alarm.

Apparently some people take offense to it. I thought it was funny because it’s true. There are all kinds of people¬†at the gym.¬†However just like anything else this doesn’t happen in all gyms, but it does happen.

I remembered The Lunk Alarm this weekend as I was hanging out with friends and¬†we were all talking about weight loss, eating habits,¬†and the constant¬†body changes after having kids, and¬†the changes currently happening as we are all reaching¬†40. They all talked about what they could and couldn’t eat, self-restraint, gluten allergies, and portions. We all talked about trying to keep ourselves healthy and the work it took to maintain healthy lifestyles.

Apparently I’m not the only one who feels that it gets a little harder as you get older.

Tired becomes a factor. Tired from work. Tired from school. Tired from kids. Tired from marriage. Tired from a busy life. Tired becomes a problem sometimes.

And as it became my turn to chit-chat about my outlook on the matter, I admitted, tired is a factor Most definitely. I admitted parts of my body have changed, maybe not the same ones as everyone else but nevertheless stretch marks and fat cells are part of my I had-two-kids life.

And food? I’m in love with it. I admitted to the Claim Jumper size portions. I admitted my love for pasta and that I ate it at least four times a week.¬†My adoration for chocolate. I was a food lover who had seconds, and thirds. But I did admit that because I had a deep Food Network type of amor for food, I did have to get off my ass and workout.

It just made sense.

I had to.

If I ate whatever I wanted, I needed to make sure that I got some exercise in the process. But what I failed to mention was that I hate going to gyms. All these sweaty people in one place, crowded workout areas and the Lunks walking around staring at themselves in the mirror and then staring at themselves again naked in the locker room. Yeah¬†that’s really¬†not for me.

It’s all good that you’re beefed up or that you’re “hot” … dude fantastic. You’re great eye candy, and a nice distraction for me and everyone else I imagine. High-five to you, but sometimes you’re a little too free with your body around me.

I’m all about freedom, but I love my personal space.¬† It’s mine, but sometimes staying out of my one-foot radius while you’re naked¬†becomes a little too difficult for you while you’re blow drying your hair, brushing your teeth, applying make-up or sitting down. All while you’re naked you do this. I’m clothed. I’ve got a towel. I’ve got bra and panties.¬†I’m good, but¬†skin on skin contact is not allowed, not even feet or elbows.¬†Not even accidentally.

So because I value the¬†non-naked personal space radius,¬†I don’t go to gyms. They’re just not for me. And I know not all gyms are like this. I know, but I happen to prefer The Great Outdoors anyway.

I like to do things that don’t make me feel like it’s an actual workout. Sports. Swimming. Biking. Hiking. Dancing. Boxing. Martial¬†arts.¬†Any outdoor recreation is¬†good. Triathlons are good. Races are good.¬†I’m not reminding myself that¬†I’m working out, because I’m actually having fun.

I’ve never found that working on a Stairmaster is fun¬†for me, even if I have the best playlist on my iPod, it’s just something I don’t look forward to …¬†it feels like a chore. The Great Outdoors … that doesn’t feel like a chore at all. The Great Outdoors makes it possible for me to stuff my face … to¬†eat carbs. It makes the non-workout, workout possible. Plus it has less naked people bumping into you. The Great Outdoors …¬†my ticket to fighting fat cells and stretch marks that are¬†trying¬† to kidnap my 40 year-old body.

 

 

Plan B, Miss 166, My Non-Water Resistant Camera, and My Cartwheel-Worthy Moment

2 Jul

Did it turn out the way I planned?

No. It almost never does.

Plan B was in full effect Sunday, along with the 100+ degree heat. But as with any Guatacular adventure, Plan B is always in effect,¬†always making an appearance. It’s just the nature of the beast.

Sometimes Plan B ends up being even better than the original.

Yeah … this wasn’t one of those times.

In truth it wasn‚Äôt all bad. It provided me with¬†some stressful situations that turned into¬†comedic moments, which turned into great stories. I think that’s what Plan B is about ‚Ķ providing writing material. And it all starts with your plans ‚Ķ your goals.

Just finish.

Don’t fall and crack your head open, ambulances are expensive.

Don’t get a cramp and drown, it sounds like a painful way of dying.

Don’t let the Cha-Cha girl wearing make-up beat you.

Keep up with the 60-year old IronMan lady during the run.

Don’t use all the IcyHot on your quads the first night, your butt muscles could probably use some from all that bike riding.

Hanging out at the starting line trying to get into my Zen-like pre-triathlon frame of mind.

Hanging out at the starting line trying to get into my Zen-like pre-triathlon frame of mind.

All pretty high-achieving goals. I know. And this¬†year an added bonus:¬†Conquer Devil’s Canyon. As you might recall last year¬†this bitch¬†got the best of me and my back. It kicked my ass. This year however I swore I’d make it to the top without stopping and I had more than my pride and two months of yoga¬†pushing me. This time I had extra motivation. I had to make it to my son’s race before it started.

So it was on.

The running went as expected. All the cover models wearing the right clothes, fancy triathlon watches¬†and other expensive gear hauled ass at the sound of the starter’s pistol. By mile two, me and¬†my Costco¬†t-shirt and shorts made our way passed them.

I was doing well. I thought I got this! I made it to the bike transition, no worries. And then about five minutes into the ride, it happened. Plan B provided me with good writing material.

I mean how could I not write about how¬†I almost fell off the bike and ate it because my dude actually did something nice for me. How does something nice go bad? When it’s too nice. He washed the bike the day before, but washed it so well that all¬†the oil¬†practically came off the chain, which then caused the chain to get jammed as I tried to shift gears. It was in a serious state of adhesion.¬†I mean if I went up or down Devil’s Canyon like that, it¬†would have been¬†IT for me. Call the ambulance.

Yeah...this is where it happened. But no pictures of Angie as we were both in a hurry to get on with the race.

Yeah…this is where it happened. You notice how there is no one around … that’s because they all passed me. But no time for¬†pictures with Angie as we were both in a hurry to get on with the race.

Luckily it happened early on. And I guess if it wasn’t for Plan B I wouldn’t have been reminded of random acts of kindness.

I didn’t even know her, but there she was … my savior wearing aqua blue nylon running shorts,¬†a white breathable cotton tank top,¬†shades,¬† and sporting the 166 ink on her triceps.

Angie. Oh Angie. My savior. Miss 166.

Since¬†everyone was zooming passed me without giving me a second glance I thought I would jog with my bike to the water station and hopefully one of the sheriffs or volunteers¬†would help fix the chain. You know, help me get¬†back on track, because my grease stained hands were making no progress.¬†But on my way there,¬†I ran across Angie, who opened up her MacGyver¬†tool belt to help me. I’m not mechanically inclined, so I had no idea how to unstick a jammed bicycle chain. But apparently¬† the “right way” was easier than the 15-minute method I tried.

But nevertheless Angie and I persevered. I gave her a Woo-Hoo high-five and promised to buy her a cold one once the race was done.

Triathlon 008

Devil’s Canyon … The Beginning

This 15-minute pit stop allowed for a lot of people to pass me, including some Cha-Cha girls in pink. It felt like last place had my name on it. However, this little setback¬†inspired ¬†a comeback. But I was a little worried because I hadn’t even encountered my nemesis yet: Devil’s Canyon.

However, setbacks have a way of pushing you so that you make it to the top, even without your Gatorade, which happened to spill everywhere during your pit stop. This setback pushed me to race up Devil’s Canyon in all gears — no stopping this time. And as I passed all the bikers walking up the crazy hill all I could think was …¬†Yoga, you rock! My back made it.

As I reached the top¬†I was so happy to see Harold The Rotary Club volunteer handing out water. I think everyone was happy when they saw¬†Harold and not just because of the water. Harold meant the end of Devil’s Canyon.

After this sweet victory I could tell I was on empty and in desperate need of a banana or orange. So I zoomed down because I knew something would be waiting for me when I hit the transition area. As I approached I noticed the wall clock … I had ten minutes before my son’s race. And so when I dove into the pool it hadn’t even occurred to me to remove my trusty non-waterproof, non-water resistant¬†Canon Powershot.

No it hadn’t occurred to me. All I was thinking about was my son’s starting line.

So¬†after 25 meters in the pool¬†it¬†was done for, in truth after one meter it was done for, resting in peace. All I could do was take¬†it¬†out of my pocket, put it on the pool deck, and just keep swimming. The lifeguard assured me that it happened often, however I didn’t see any other water-soaked¬†cameras dripping dry.

But regardless of my camera’s demise the swimming happened to be the best part that day.¬†I wasn’t Michael Phelps, but I made it through without having to stop. The backstroke rocks. I know normal people enjoy freestyle, but as you all know backwards is the way to go for me.

However¬†the best part … the best part of the whole day was not conquering Devil’s Canyon or crossing the finish line. I know I had made it and it felt good. But no that wasn’t it.¬†The highlight of the day was watching my son cross the¬†starting line. It was¬†cheering him on as I ran alongside him. It was helping him during the bike transition and having him tell me “I got this mom,” as he pedaled away. It was helping him be the best Aquaman he could be in the pool. It was seeing his smile as he¬†sprinted across¬†the finish line. It was the hug and the high-five that I gave him as he got his medal.

Yeah … these were¬†definitely cart-wheel worthy kind of moments that lasted all day.

 

The Tiny Tots take off ... my son included.

The Tiny Tots take off and I was so glad my son was able to avoid the 7-child pile up that happened right at the starting line. After a fall like that a few of the kids decided not to continue.

 

In deep waters he decides to have a pit stop. The wall a perfect place.

In deep waters he decides to have a pit stop. The wall a perfect place.

 

Running towards the finish line.

Running towards the finish line.

 

The Little Champion

The Little Champion … crossed off another item from his Sandbox List Adventures.

 

The Rematch Update 2: Getting To The Starting Line And I Think Yoga Is Going to Help Me

28 May

I don’t know why it seemed easier last year, but for some reason my body seems to agree with me. It was easier. I don’t know if it has anything to do with the fact that I’m one year closer to the big 4-0. It may be, a lot can happen to your muscles and bones in a year. But I don’t think it has anything to do with the fact that I’m checking a new age-range box on applications. I think it has to do with the fact that my one year old is going on two.

Have you heard of twos?¬†They’re terrible.

You would think the sleep deprivation would have stopped after a year. But no … no. This kid is just psyching me out, waiting until I got¬†a little comfortable¬†and then BAM! the middle of the night drama happened again. Just randomly. Sometimes on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Sometimes just Saturday nights.¬†Just to mess with my head.

Image via Durtbagz.com

Image via Durtbagz.com

It’s this power struggle that probably effected my ability to function properly during the day. It’s this power struggle that probably has me looking for anti-aging cream at the CVS. It’s this power struggle that probably has me using the adjective “weary” to describe myself now. It’s this power struggle that has probably effected my training. My brains and bones are just not the same. No matter how many vitamins I’ve been acquiring, it seems to take me a lot longer to jump-start my battery.¬†This is when I start to wonder about osteoporosis, arthritis, and sciatica. Is it possible to have all three before you hit 40?

Maybe.

But I do have to say … the yoga has been helping my back. Thanks to 13-letter¬†word yoga poses¬†ending in¬†¬†“sana” I seem to be chugging along. The whole yoga stretching¬†appears¬†to be helping¬†the¬†training process.¬†After doing them, I seem to have enough umph¬†left¬†to help train my son for his Tiny Tots Tricycle Triathlon. He’s doing really well in the biking part, and¬†I’m happy that he’ll be taking swimming classes this month to help prepare him for¬†his big dive in the pool. In fact I think he’ll probably do better than me in the water.¬†In truth I’m more excited about his race than I am mine. It’ll be our first race together and I’m feeling all “parenty” about it. I’ll probably be high-fiving him all day. And it’s the anticipation of these high-fives and his smiles¬†that really keep me going.

Making sure that¬†I’m there at the starting line to see him take off¬†is inspiration enough to kick my own¬†ass.¬†My race starts at 7 a.m. his at 9 a.m. I’m gonna be there, camera in hand. So watch out Devil’s Canyon, I’m getting ready for you.

One of my goals this year is to conquer Devil’s Canyon without stopping or passing out. Now I don’t have a¬†fast and light¬†racing bike, which would probably help my time, but my Bianchi hybrid will have to do. Maybe I can add rocket boosters or something, you know for that final climb. But maybe I can do a few extra squats so that my quads won’t be burning up when I’m climbing all those hills. And maybe I’ll increase my bike rides through the park, so that I can go passed the stop sign and reach the heliport. And maybe I’ll increase my¬†downward-facing-dog, cat-cow yoga¬†involvement so that my back isn’t killing me while I’m going up the mountain. I’ve decided …¬†I’m gonna make it to my son’s starting line on time, even if I fall off the bike and have to crawl there, which I hope¬†doesn’t¬†happen. But¬†either way,¬†I’m getting to the starting line and I think yoga is gonna help me power through … well I know it’ll help my back. And that body part seems to be very important. It connected to all the vital parts I need for the race.

Keeping A Badass Frame of Mind

8 Apr

Just when I thought I was badass, The Fight For Air Climb made me think again.

I knew it was going to be tough, but I didn’t think¬†it would be so challenging.¬†I thought I¬†had trained for this.¬†I was Rocky Balboa for about two months and I thought I was ready. I stormed bleachers and stairs and¬†thought my Hulk Hogan-like quads were sculpted enough and ready to take on the 1,400 steps waiting for me.

Yeah … I thought. That was the problem right there …

I mean the morning started off all right, just a few jitters at the registration table.

 

My gear from the registration table.

My gear from the registration table.

 

But when I saw my t-shirt I laughed. I¬†knew I was in the right place. I was¬†still in my badass frame of mind.¬†I mean you’d have to think you were a badass to climb this monster.

 

The Challenge. 63 stories and about 1,400 steps.

The Challenge. The AON Center. 63 stories and about 1,400 steps.

 

And so I remained in this state for most of the morning.¬†However, I did have some help. The¬†DJ pumped up the crowd with a few tunes and everyone was excited for the climb to start. Then I noticed the memory wall — names of people being honored during the climb — and I saw my dad’s name¬†and it gave me¬†an extra boost. It reminded me that this was more than just another BenGay moment.

 

The memory markers hanging near the starting line.

The memory markers hanging near the starting line.

 

As I passed the memory wall I noticed a group of firefighters approaching.

 

Heading towards the front of the building.

Heading towards the front of the building.

 

I was like dude … did someone pass out already? But they seemed to be walking pretty slowly¬†to be rapidly responding to a crisis.

 

The rest of the crew, getting geared up for the race.

The rest of the crew, getting geared up for the race.

 

No. No crisis.¬†They happen to be walking to the starting line to join the multitude of elite climbers designated to go first. Apparently these firefighters were also participating in the race, however they were not wearing t-shirt, and shorts attire. They were in full-on firefighter gear. I really thought I was badass, but this … this seem to put me in the minor leagues. I couldn’t imagine climbing with all that extra weight. I could barely climb with an iPod.¬†But I was here, and I was going¬†to finish no matter what¬†league I was in.

In truth, I thought I was going to do well. As always I watched clips from Miracle, Rudy, Remember the Titans, Hoosiers, Rocky, Glory Road, The Natural, Invincible, and Breaking Away.¬†I listened to¬†inspirational coach speeches. I thought I had prepared, both physically and mentally. I’m a nerd I always prepare. I reached the starting line, got the countdown, and took off.¬† I thought … I got this.

 

Standing at the starting line.

Standing at the starting line.

 

Uh … think again. When I reached the eighth floor. Something happened, and I had to think back to my training.

There I was¬†in the¬†outdoors storming the bleachers of the local high school and community college stadium, working up a sweat after about forty minutes and thinking …¬†I can do this. But there was only one problem … I was outdoors, breathing fresh air.¬†¬†Fresh being the key word here. So I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me earlier.¬†I guess I should have known that fresh air, or fake air for that matter, does not circulate in skyscraper stairwells. It does not.

You know what does circulate?

Sweat, smell, and claustrophobia. Yeah … it¬†spreads itself up and down those 63 stories, crop-dusting¬†itself all over, in every¬†nook and cranny. I couldn’t understand why my legs felt heavy after only twelve stories. I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t storm these steps two at a time, like a real athlete, like I had during my training. I couldn’t understand why I got so tired so early and why my heart was beating so quickly.

And then it hit me. I was learning this lesson the hard way.

Oxygen. Pinche lack oxygen.

I was in the¬†American Lung Association‘s Fight For Air Climb and I was literally fighting for air. This is when my fake running began. You know¬†when you’re running at the¬†park or track and you see some chick or dude half-assing it.¬†They’re running in¬†slow motion, it’s not even jogging. It’s slower than jogging,¬†but they think they are actually sprinting because they’re pumping their arms and bobbing their head up and down. They’re going at the speed of walk. Yeah … that was me. I had become the half-ass chick because there was not enough oxygen and everyone around me was feeling it.¬†We were in full-blown hypoxia mode.

Thank God they opened a few doors on various levels, and thank God for the high school volunteers trying to fan me with signs. That definitely helped boost my energy level a bit. And then just when I thought I was getting closer I looked up and saw the sign. I had barely cleared the 24th floor.

Holy crap. This climb was definitely going to kick my ass.

 

Most definitely.

Most definitely.

 

But I didn’t want to stop, so I grabbed hold of the handrail and kept climbing. Once I hit the halfway mark I just stopped looking at the signs. I hated the fact that I was climbing so many steps only to realize that I had gone up a few¬†flights. All I wanted to see was the 60th floor approaching, but¬†I was so far off. This floor countdown was not cool, ¬†so I just tried to avoid the signs.

But, did I make it to the top without crawling, without hanging on the stairs for dear life, or without throwing up like many of my fellow climbers?

Hell yes!

I rose to the top. I did it by any means necessary. Mostly jogging, the running had stopped at the eighth floor. But there was some dancing as I passed by my fellow climbers. I fought through the lack of oxygen and smelly hallways to finish in 87th place out of 350 chicks. It may not seem fantastic, but it was good for me.

So thank¬†you Double Dutch Bus, thank you Mr. World Wide¬†Pitbull Don’t Stop The Party,¬†thank you Devil Went¬†Down to Georgia,¬†thank you Eye of The Tiger, thank you Michael Jackson’s¬†Mama-Say-Mama-Sah Ma-Ma-Coo-Sah.¬†You came through for me once I reached the 40th floor. But most of all thank you Tucanes¬†de¬†Tijiuana because¬†La Chona helped me¬†run my way to the top.

 

One of the views from the top.

One of the views from the top.

63 Stories. 1,400 stairs. I clocked in at 18.41.

Surprisingly there was no BenGay this time, maybe it was because of the VIP sports massage I got after I finished the climb. However, there was plenty of ice for my weary 37-year old knees.

But the question remains … Still, badass?

Yes. Hell yes! Most definitely.

Now That The Flu is Gone, The BenGay Adventures Begin Again

28 Feb

The coughing. The aching. The overall feeling of crappiness that came with two weeks of the flu sidelined my athletic endeavors. No workouts. No biking. No running. No push-ups. No downward dogs. And the only stretching I did was for the remote control. For the most part, it was just a whole lot of nothing and with that I got thrown off the athletic wagon.

But I’m back.

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Photo by James Hamilton.

I’ve been DayQuil and NyQuil free for three days, and I think my muscles are ready to attack my fat. It’s been building so this is going to be a¬†battle considering my muscles have been on the bench and my fat became stronger. So I had to come back big.¬†There was really no other way around it. And even though I still have a hatred for running unless there’s a purpose (you know I can’t run just for the sake of running)¬†both of the challenges definitely involve running¬†or at least a running motion. One is on wheels. The other is up stairs.

Now I never thought I would participate in something that would require a mouth guard and wrist guards. I don’t even know what wrist guards are, but I’m sure Sports Authority¬†will … it’s like the mecca of sports equipment.¬†And apparently I need both of them. I’m embarking on my first roller derby adventure this weekend and seeing¬†how gravity is always trying¬†to bring me down and cause chaos, I’m a little concerned about just getting on the track.¬†I haven’t¬†skated since elementary school, but I’m confident that my instructor Suzy Snakeyes will assist me in not being thrown over the rail accidentally or on purpose. I figure since it’s a beginning class that sort of thing happens until the third or fourth session. Stay tuned I’ll let you know how that little adventure panned out.

If I survive this session on wheels,¬†I’ll move on to my other challenge. Something a little more daunting. I normally don’t¬†use words like daunting, but for this it’s required.¬†I won’t need a mouth guard or wrist guard for this one, but maybe I’ll need a¬†Costco-sized¬†amount of Ben Gay when I’m done. It’s called a climb, not so much a mountain or hill but more like 1,391 steps … 63 flights of stairs.

Now when I saw this online, I didn’t quite picture it in my head. All I thought was “sounds like a lot,” but I thought I’d be all right. I have BenGay¬†and IcyHot. I’ve got my New Balance. I also got an iPod with plenty of tunes. I thought I’d be all right with that, but then I saw it. The building¬†. I drove¬†across the downtown skyline and saw it. I¬†thought Holy Crap! This is not a building, it’s a skyscraper. I’m gonna need “Eye of The Tiger” blaring through my headphones if I’m gonna make it to the top of this one. How am I going to prepare for this monstrosity?

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Fight For Air Climb

I mean what would posses me to take on such a challenge? Something new? Something different? Yes, and yes. But mainly it’s for my dad. It’s called the Fight for Air Climb and it’s sponsored by The American Lung Association.¬†The climb¬†helps raise funds for lung disease, and many of you know that my dad passed away almost two years ago from Interstitial Lung Disease. I think about him every day and thought this would be a great way to honor him … raising money for ¬†research and helping to find a cure so nobody else’s dad passes away. So far my family and friends have been very supportive and Team Guat is on track to reaching its fundraising goal.¬†I wasn’t aware of this race, but once I knew, I had to get involved.¬†I think I might do this one every year, but stay tuned. It’s a pretty ginormous building, we’ll see how this turns out. I might have to buy more BenGay than anticipated.¬†Do they make anything bigger than Costco size?