Portland Century

Visualize a Wall

This week was a good week for me in the gym. I was feeling strong and positive about my body. Before my Spin class I hit the treadmill and had the BEST run I’ve had since I started up again. I started out at a 5.0 speed instead of slowly warming up and I really felt like I couldn’t go fast enough. it felt fantastic!

I think part of the reason was that I got distracted by that Super Nanny show on TV. Man are those kids monsters on that show! I’m sure that’s the point of the show, but still….Before I knew it, I had run a fast (for me) mile and I kept going. Then I looked down and I’d run 1.25! It was such a nice boost.

I went to Spin after my run and settled in for lots and lots of climbs. I realized something in my class. By going easy on myself in Spin class, I was just cheating myself for when I went back outside on my bike. I was doing the same workout as the teacher, similar resistance, but babying my body. I was so afraid of setting the resistance too hard and hurting my knee, I thought it was better, smarter, to reduce it. Instead of protecting myself, I think I was wasting my time. I wasn’t challenging myself as much as I needed to and I was really just going through the cardio motions.

This recent spin class was different. When the instructor said “8 out of 10 challenging climb” I actually cranked up that knob until it WAS challenging for me. NOT just a “sort of challenge that didn’t risk anything” kind of workout. And guess what? It rocked.

While I was on the bike, doing these very challenging seated climbs where it was a struggle just to propel my feet and legs each rotation, I visualized that monster hill in the Portland Century. It was the kind of hill that was short but straight up–really, it was a wall right in front of me. It was the kind of hill where cyclists gave up before they even started to climb it, and instead walked their bikes up. It was the kind of wall hill that I wanted more than anything to conquer on my bike–without giving up half way up like everyone else.

I remembered what I felt like when I was trying to climb that hill last summer. I remembered how the air in my lungs were burning as I gasped in and out like a fish on land. I remembered how my thighs and quad muscles were scorching in pain and my body was burning every little last bit of energy I had left to make it up that wall. And I remembered how wobbly and happy I felt once I reached the top. I used that visualization to get through the “8 out of 10 challenging climb” in the class. It was hard, but nowhere near as challenging as that wall.

I was glad I pushed myself in the class, challenging my body to do what I’ve been training to do: climb hills. My legs are strong. The muscles in my legs are bigger. They can take it. They want those challenges. So while the music in the gym was pulsating in my ears and sweat was dripping down the back of my neck, I hunkered down and just focused on that wall that I climbed last summer. I closed my eyes and thought about every single moment and every single pedal rotation until I was through it. It felt awesome!

Gym Stats:

Time: 1:38
Calories Burned: 649
Distance: 1.28 mile run, 15 mile bike 

That being said, this is just a friendly reminder to anyone else working out, taking fitness classes, trying to get in shape….

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How many people out there can say that they’ve just been “going through the motions” and not really challenging themselves? I admitted it! And I changed that. I pushed myself to the brink and felt happy, energized and inspired after doing so. Let’s all get out of our “going through the motions” funk.

I got home from the gym to find a magnificent feast waiting for me! It was magnificent for two reasons: 1) I was absolutely famished and burst into the house kinda like Kool-Aid Guy and 2) I didn’t have to do any of it! Michael cooked the steak and the veggies without any of my participation, which was kinda nice. I just stood there and enjoyed the jalapeno and garlic stuffed green olives his mom brought us back from California:

The jalapeno stuffed olives were awesome and SPICY! I ate about 5 of them. Then dinner was ready. It was nice to have these green things again:

The steak was thick: my cut was about 1.5 servings or just under that because there was actually a lot of fat on one side. The Brussels sprouts were sauteed in grapeseed oil, seasoned with salt and pepper and had some bacon in it. Yes, I know I was eating steak and bacon but Brussels sprouts are so damn good with bacon!

The dinner felt like a hearty, caveman-diet. Meat. Green food. More Meat. Wine. RAWR! But it was tasty. And exactly what I needed after my challenging workout. The positive run and the positive spin class boosted my mood tremendously. I cannot express just how great I felt.

QUESTION: What do you visualize when you need that extra boost?

7 Secrets to Making This Year the Best Year Ever

I read this article and it really spoke to me. The article was well-written and inspiring. While I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions, there’s nothing wrong with doing little things to better ourselves.  “Not achieving what you set out to do means you’ll yet again fail to move toward the life you desire, which leads to nothing but regret.”

Following the article’s advice, I can make little improvements in my life to avoid inertia and stagnation.

1. Stay here and now. Focusing on what I can do right now, not getting overwhelmed with a huge goal in the future.

2. Eliminate. I definitely need to simplify my life. Michael and I have started the process to declutter our house and why not declutter our lives too?

3. Discriminate. This means saying no and “learning to respect your own time.” I think I do this pretty well now. My gym time is my time and I’m loyal to that. Staying consistent has helped me maintain my weight and relieve stress. While there are a lot of things I want to do, I need to be picky. And include downtime in my schedule! Something I don’t often have!

4. Goals. The only goal I’ve set for myself in 2012 is to bike a full century. I got pretty close in 2011, biking 72 miles in the Portland Century. I think going to spin class all winter long and hopefully starting to commute to work on bike early this year, I can be ready.

5. Focus on your next step. “Living an extraordinary life takes effort, at least at first, which is why most people turn it down.” What can I do to get closer to my goal? I can continue Spin class once a week and maybe even add a second day at home on the bike trainer during January, February and March.

6. Momentum. Take one step and then another. Maybe in April I add a third day a week on the bike. Adding a second spin class to my week could jump start me.

7. Focus on what matters to you. Write it down. Keep it handy. Put on the a blog where everyone can see it. Accountability! 🙂

I like having a goal to work towards. Having a goal, or specific dates in mind helped me to lose 100 pounds. I had a specific date to lose 50 pounds by and I did it. Signing up for Hood to Coast in 2010 gave me a tangible date to keep in my mind when I was training. I was running towards that goal!

My big goal for 2012 is a Century. I’m not sure which one I’ll do yet. I’m in the researching stage right now. As soon as I find “the one” I’m signing up for it–making a commitment to myself and locking it in! Stay tuned…

QUESTION: What’s your one big goal to make 2012 the best year ever?