Over the weekend, I set out on my longest distance endurance ride. Bike MS. I chose the 75 mile distance... because well, its a challenge!
The rolling start began at 7:00 am. I had planned to let the first wave of riders head out before I did. I assumed that the first group would end up being the largest. I didn’t want to be caught with a pack of way more experienced riders and also anyone that was “racing” or riding for speed would want to get an early jump on the road without me in their way, so I waited until 7:45 to start my ride. I’m not sure why I decided to wait so long, but that’s how it happened. I reminded myself that for me, it was a ride and not a race. I deliberately went out at my comfortable pace and enjoyed the first few miles. I had to stop within the first mile because my right shoe wouldn’t clip-in--turns out I would end up doing my whole ride not being able to clip one shoe in. My legs were fresh, my mind was ready, the hardest part was trying to maintain a relaxed pace. My legs just kept saying “Go, Go, Go.”
The first twenty miles were a bit of a blur, I was out enjoying my ride, relaxed and enjoyed the moment. Each person or pack I passed, I hoped I wasn’t being too ambitious with my speed; after all, these people looked experienced, I was just pretending to know what I was doing. I climbed to the top of the hill passing each person, I glided to the top and stood up on my bike to catch my breath and stretch out my legs. As I cruised down the other side, I had a new found confidence.
I made it to the rest-stop that was around mile 27 and was feeling pretty great! I got off my bike for a few
I'm pretty excited, this weekend is my second ever endurance ride, and this year I have chosen to ride Bike MS: Tour de Farms 2016. About two months ago I signed up for and have been training for Bike MS— a fundraising ride that is changing the lives of people affected by Multiple Sclerosis and helping to fuel progress toward a world free of MS. If you didn't know, MS is a disease of the brain and spinal cord which interferes with the body’s ability to control essential functions such as walking, seeing and coordination. Currently, there is no cure. Bike MS gives me a great opportunity to raise awareness, educate others and raise funds to support the programs that improve the lives of those living with the disease.
Over the last year, the running community has brought some pretty amazing people into my life. One of those people I happen to consider a friend, have had the pleasure of running with and little does he know he inspires me daily. You see, this friend has MS, yet he runs crazy long ultra distance races. He doesn't let anything stop him. While I can't run those crazy distances, I certainly can BIKE them! The way I see it, any struggle or discomfort I go through while trying to push myself to a new bike distance PR of 75miles pales in comparison to what those with MS have to deal with. I can sacrifice my comfort to bring awareness and funding to this awful disease!
Once upon a time, I was told there was a chance I might not run or walk or use my legs in my future. That future is my NOW. I often go back to those moments and remember the feelings. Between my history of injuries, life's lemons and my current health struggles; not a single day goes by I don’t consider myself fortunate. My story is my own, but for as long as I can, I'll continue to use my body to help any way I can.
I can't wait to get out there and ride this weekend. I’ve felt pretty strong on the bike (for me) over the last two months and I'm looking forward to the fun!! As always, I feel super fortunate to work for a company that supports me and donates upon completion of my endeavors. Let's do this!
Dream Big. Work Hard.
Somewhere I got this wild idea in my head (truly, it was wild for me) to do my first triathlon. This may sound like no big deal to some people, but it turns out, I’m not a swimmer. Not as in “I don’t like to swim” but as in “I really don’t know how to swim”. I can get in the water and get from point A to point B, but I certainly don’t do it correctly and I usually have my face out of the water. Because putting my face in the water and suddenly forgetting how to breath is the perfect storm for a panic attack. I can’t explain why exactly, I just don’t like having my face in the water.
Soooo...... How do you go from non-swimmer to a triathlete?
Much like everything else- It’s a journey.
It’s a journey that I’ve played with the idea of taking on since last fall.
I tried learning to swim last fall. And by swimming, I mean floundering, panicking, getting frustrated and giving up for months until I worked up my courage to get back in the pool.
That day came today.
In pretty much every other area in my life I found success fairly easily. I flew through nursing school with flying colors, built a successful career, I'd like to think my marriage was successful, I raised a fantastic child, I figured out how to run a marathon, I learned to semi-master the road bike.
But the water... that damn water... I just couldn’t wrap my hands around the power it held over me. There were ups, downs, some tears, some fears and very little support. I'm hoping I can push past my fear of water this time around and find myself a victory of not being afraid of the water.
When is the last time that you have tried something new? No really… when?
We are creatures of habit, which means we tend to do the same thing. Again. And again. Doing something new is unfamiliar, which can be scarier than knowing that you will fail at doing something you regularly do. I can do this. I can get over my fear.
I might just have my eye on a race later this fall, I might just sign up before I know how to fully swim, but honestly that is pretty typical Mandie behavior. I told a few people I knew and I thought, "Oh crap. Now I have to learn to swim!!!”. But I didn’t quite go public with the specifics of the race just yet. I suppose this is me sorta going public, but I'm not ready to divulge the when & where just yet. And so, my journey really begins. I'm ready to put myself in a pool a few days a week. Keep your fingers crossed for me!
Do things that scare you.
Dream Big. Work Hard.
Don’t make change too complicated.
Start where you are.
Do what you can.
Use what you have.
And that’s what it’s all about.
Don’t wait for things to happen in the future.
Odds are you won’t make any changes after waiting.
But the odds of making a change here and now.
Don’t make such a big project out of it. Just get on with it.
A long journey starts with one little step.
And imagine how good you will feel at the end of the day for starting your journey to a simpler, happier, healthier life.
Stop the glorification of busy.
Spend time and energy on the important things.
Simplify daily routines.
Minimize your wants.
Look after good friends and be humble and non judgmental to the rest.
Go for a run. Eat a healthy snack. Clear the clutter. Set a goal and take that first step.
Stop the excuses.
Breathe in the future. Good. Now, breathe out the past. Keep going.
Collect moments, not things.
Focus on life. It’s not all about making a living.
Dream Big. Work Hard.
You guys... I have a confession to make... I haven't seen my personal trainer in TWO WEEKS.... and it's making me miserable!! (Don't tell Mr. Trainer guy that though, I can't let him know I need him.) I never thought I'd be someone who said she craved to be in the gym, but here I am.
I am away from home this week for work and no matter how long or short the trip, it is really easy to find yourself thinking “I’m not at home so I can eat this… drink this… don’t really have to work out, etc.” Well, let me tell you that kind of thinking catches up with you pretty quickly. I'm doing my best to stay active and make healthy choices while away, but, in all seriousness I cannot wait to get back home and to my gym to see my trainer. This fancy hotel gym.... it's got nothing on him. You see, back home I have a trainer I trust & respect... he has methods I (sometimes) understand, and it’s good to be coached in the right direction. Even better when I get a “good job” from him, I will take it. Being honest about where I’m at with my fitness and letting someone else lead the way is not something that comes easily, but it's nothing to be ashamed of. Five months ago, I was excited to get started and now instead of focusing on what I can’t do that I once could, I’m focusing on my will to improve.
Ok, so you might not be able to stick to your normal fitness routine when travelling – but you can totally turn this into a positive. Changing your routine up from time to time gives your body the chance to use different muscles and learn new skills, so shake up your workouts and try new things! We'll get back to routine soon enough. Fitness used to not be a priority to me, but now it is. Food used to be something I just ate mindlessly/emotionally, but now it is something I consciously consume to fuel my body. At the end of the day, remember that being healthy isn’t a fad or a short-term hobby, it’s a lifestyle choice and a continuum.
Thanks to the work I put in with that trainer guy, I feel great that together, we have built a strong foundation to move toward the things I have always aspired to do and couldn’t do alone. I'm on my way to be able to do the things in the gym I have watched others do, obsessed over in videos, or never got to the first time around. I’m chasing that kind of athleticism again, and this time with a great trainer by my side. Who knows, maybe I’ll even do a pull up?
It’s immeasurably great to feel healthier. To get stronger. To be able to do things you once weren’t able to. It can be really fun to watch your body change, but (even though those things can be pretty great) one of my favorite side effects of fitness is how much you can learn about yourself, even if by accident.....
As this transformation is occurring I started to challenge notions I've had about myself. I’m still a work in progress, and I believe everyone is. But I can now see the start of progress. The weight I've been carrying for so many years has held me back in so many ways, and letting it go has allowed me to get closer to the person I was meant to be.
Here’s to being honest about where you’re at.
And here’s to accepting what is, so you can move toward what could be.
Believe yourself to be worthy of good things.
Dream Big. Work Hard.
Sometimes I find something that really challenges me and then I decide that I need to know more about it. Insert TRX Suspension training.
I was first introduced to this concept by my personal trainer at my gym, at first I was terrified to try something new, something I hadn't really heard of, but let me tell you that I love this thing so much that I had to purchase one for my home! (I purchased an off brand, but let me tell you, you get what you pay for and I really want to invest in an actual TRX. My gym however has a real TRX and it's amazing!) You can get such a great workout from these little straps and your body weight. (You should still do your normal workouts, this is just a great way to add to or switch up your training) I still continue to see my personal trainer twice a week, but I use my home suspension trainer on days I don't see him, and even when I do see him, I hope & love when we use this system! Shhh… don’t tell him I said that. *wink*
I have come to love suspension training! It challenges me in such a different way... strength, coordination, balance and a full body workout! Suspension training humbles me in every way possible. It makes every muscle in my body work hard, which is something I’m trying to focus on now more than ever. Suspension training is also a great way to add stability training moves. Hey trainer guy, thanks for pointing out all those muscle imbalances. Mmk
I’ve been enjoying this little TRX workout, it might not look like a whole lot, but try it and come tell me how your arms feel after you’re done. There are SO MANY moves you can do with the suspension trainers, these are just a few of my favorites at the moment. I like to shoot for 3 -5 rounds depending on the amount of time I have in my day and how fatigued my arms get. (click the links to view an instructional video)
It’s Global Running Day.
A day that celebrates my passion.
It’s common knowledge how much I love running.
Even though I never would have guessed that running would eventually become to me what it is, it has.
And I’m grateful everyday for it.
Running keeps me young.
Running is where I find peace.
Running taught me to believe in myself.
Running showed me how to be competitive but also supportive of others.
Running taught me perseverance.
Running is showing me the world.
Running is one of the only things I do that impresses anyone.
Running saved me from a dark place.
Most importantly running is MINE.
I’m going to keep doing it as long as this body of mine lets me.
Run on, my friends, run on!
Dream Big. Work Hard!