challenges, fitness and nutrition

Duathlon DIY-Style, and 2021’s OLW

One of my goals last year was to challenge myself to a duathlon. I ended up registering for a summer triathlon which was pushed back until next year.

I had all but given up on this goal at the end of the summer. After the race was postponed, I lost my excitement and drive to train and learn for the event. It wasn’t until a friend rallied a group of gym women around an engine building cardio challenge that I found the will to run and bike again with any kind of regularity.

I knew I wouldn’t tri this year, but a duathlon wasn’t out of the question. I decided not to register for an official race at year end. But I wanted to at least complete a “ceremonial” sprint duathlon to have a benchmark and a check mark. So I went for it one frigid December morning just after sunrise. Just me, my playlist, my essentials and my mileage counters. On my mark, get set, go.

3.1 mile run. The mist was rising off the lake. Bridges were still slippery from the chill and the dew. Three loops, making my way along. Not too fast, but not too bad

Transition to the bike. Fleece hat off, helmet on. Legs adjusting to the pedals. Skittering along. Ups, downs, loops. The sting of the cold on my face. Losing feeling in my hands as I watch the miles tick, tick, tick away. Singing along while avoiding potholes and traffic. I finally found a quarter mile loop for a soccer field off the beaten path. Rode it again and again and again for about 8 miles. Only a quick stop for a carb boost in the middle. Then back to dancing on the pedals. Saddle soreness set in at mile 8. Toe cramps began at 10. I held on to finish the 12.4 mile stretch. Ended this leg averaging 10.9 mph which is actually a decent pace. If I had been on flats the whole time it would have been quicker. Lifting and loading my bike with frozen hands was a challenge all its own.

Then the final crunch. The one you train for. The one that hurts. Off the bike and into the last run. When I trained for the tri early this year, I read about this transition and how brutal it is. The quick pace of the bike makes that last mile grueling at best. I started pretty well then it quickly deteriorated. As the mile wore on, I just willed myself forward. I passed a committee of vultures. Keep singing. Dodged piles of goose poop on the path. Keep moving. Step after step. One at a time. No stopping. Knees hurting. No breaks. Just all ahead as much as I can.

I finished. No crowds no medals no beers or cokes. No parades or high fives. No banana no T-shirt. But I checked it off. I don’t need festivities to know what I have done. Didn’t quite make it under my two hour goal, but sometimes completion is the victory in that moment. I will get that goal next time. I’ll take my imaginary participation ribbon thankyouverymuch.

A DIY-duathlon gives you a lot of time to think. My mind couldn’t help but wander as I looped around and around. As much discomfort as I felt, I thanked my body for carrying me through those 17-plus miles. My mental and physical stamina made it a successful effort. A year like this one makes me realize all the more how much these different types of health are worth.

I’ve shared many times how much I love words and wordplay here on the blog. In those bike miles, I found my mind playing with the word duathlon. I bet many people didn’t even know that was a word. Then I broke it into do-athlon. Which led to a good long think about the word “DO.” I am such a thinker, often an overthinker, and not always such a do-er. I decided in those miles that my word of 2021 will be DO. It will be my year to jump in and get things done. I’m still settling into this word and what it will mean for me. I hope you’ll read along wherever the path leads.

challenges, dare to be different

Opportunities and Obstacles

Deep breath…..

Sometimes life puts obstacles in front of us to see how we can hold up through challenges. The roars of 2020 were not for the weak in mind, body or spirit. Even the strongest and bravest souls faced some kind of adversity.

Oddly enough any obstacle can be turned into an opportunity. For me one area was coaching. How to coach through a pandemic. An obstacle to some but an opportunity to many. Nothing in a text book that I can recall on how to push through a pandemic, but that’s okay. I figured it out and am working on it daily.

As I coach I also get to share my tactics with others. Today when my efforts were validated, I got to grin knowing 2020 didn’t wipe me out. It showed me how to be resilient. It also made me more aware of the importance of sharing my successes with others. 

I am resourceful. Years of experience. A variety of tools in the tool box and each affords me the luxury of having options. Each option or path leads to an opportunity. An opportunity is what you make of it. Sharing this outlook with others will create a domino effect. 
Take a chance.

And if for some reason you missed a good opportunity, another one will come along, I promise. The key is don’t wait the next time. Seize the opportunity. Discover obstacles. Turn obstacles into non-issues. New opportunities will then keep branching off.

Trust the process.

Take chances.

Don’t be scared to learn from a missed opportunity either. It’s just like a baseball game. You can’t win every game played forever. The odds lead to some losses. And losing is okay as long as you spin it into a learning opportunity. 

My favorite business question is: if you could start over again what would you do differently? 9 out of 10 times there is a list of changes. Those are the strong leaders. Those who can’t see an opportunity from a failure will say I’d change nothing. I have unfortunately met many like the latter.

Let 2021 be a year of you. Your obstacles. Your opportunities. Your chances. Your experiences.

Don’t let Debbie Downers steer you away from chance. A chance is an opportunity for you to be great. I know many who will not take a chance in today’s uncertain times. I stand celebrating those folks as they give me more choices in which opportunity I will take and seize. 

Here’s to living for obstacles and opportunities in 2021 and beyond. Experience life. Your way.

3Splitz Farm

Salad Days

Salad Days: “Salad days” is a Shakespearean idiomatic expression meaning a youthful time, accompanied by the inexperience, enthusiasm, idealism, innocence, or indiscretion that one associates with a young person (Wikipedia).

What makes a salad? If you grew up in my house, almost anything. All the veggies, sure, but in the 1980’s with the heyday of salad bars, for me it also sometimes meant cottage cheese with shredded cheese, ranch dressing and croutons on top. There’s ambrosia filled with marshmallows. Strawberry Pretzel Salad. Or the classic half of a canned pear with a dollop of mayo, shredded cheddar and half of a maraschino cherry. In looking for recipes, I even learned about Snickers salad. Salads can be a little bit of anything thrown together, it seems.

Salad. One of the most delightful parts of farming so far has been walking out to the field, seeing what might be ready, harvesting it, and making it into a salad. Most of what we’ve pulled out so far is lettuce. I made a huge salad with our tender buttercrunch lettuce, then topped it with extras from the grocery: fresh mozzarella pearls and pomegranate seeds. The lettuce was the star and so deeply satisfying to savor. A hint of bitterness. Little touches of wilt that I knew had come from that one night of hard freeze. Our history in a bowl and I ate it right up.

The next week, it was more of our buttercrunch lettuce topped with grocery goodies: celery, tomatoes, carrots, cheese, and dressing. Delicious.

The new challenge was the kale I cut. Looking around, I had to see what ingredients we had on hand that would match up with it. We were working from a limited stock, but I came up with a kale salad with fresh Georgia satsumas (purchased out of curiosity from the Peach Truck), mozzarella, and a lemon vinaigrette. It was good, but had me dreaming of what some sunflower seeds and goat cheese would have added.

It’s a shift in thinking from the grocery store to the garden, from the food mart to the farmer’s market. To trust what the earth will provide to lead what you eat, and build the rest of your food around it. We are transitioning to being more self-reliant and making do with what we have invested in the ground. Betting on ourselves nutritionally, little by little.

For a person who goes to the store with a list and has every ingredient on hand, it’s a lesson in adaptability. A beautiful one. One that appreciates what the earth can give back for our efforts.

Our youthful salad days of gardening, growing, and enjoying the fruits (and vegetables) of our efforts have been sweet indeed. Figuring out which direction to grow next is the exciting challenge.

dare to be different

2020 Wind Down

Yup, I’m planning my wind down to the shit show year of 2020. Just taking a look at what areas I can finish strong in and what I actually chipped away at during the blah year of the pandemic.

When I look at my goals. I can say I will hit my goals of more than 2,020 burpees, 2,020 miles, 2,020 sit-ups, 2,020 pushups and so many other other fitness-related goals. This wasn’t easy because I took time off from the gym in the middle of the pandemic and it was tough getting back on board with routines. I’m still not as fit as I was prior to March 2020 but I still got on my goals.

I worked on my emotional strength this this year for sure. Supporting many during difficult times and battling hard while I lost loved ones in 2020. This year has been one for the record books in this area.

Change. Really remaining optimistic amidst change in our world. Many changes I planned and many I had no control over. It’s been a heck of a year and I’m sure there is more change lurking around the corner before 12/31. Bend. Flex. Pivot. Adapt. The words of wisdom for 2020.

Bring on 2021. It has to be better than 2020. And guess what? I have huge plans for 2021-2022. I’m approaching the big 5-0. That means lots of milestones to meet leading up to my 50th year and then the celebration of actually being 50 for that whole year. That’s 24 months of this, that and more. Can’t wait!

Approaching 50. Feeling 23. Looking 38. Celebrating being me!

This means you get a front row seat in my shit show. Not the crap year of 2020. My becoming 50 and me living it up while 50. Buckle up. The plans are in motion. 

coaching

Kindness Note

I received a note of kindness or gratitude a couple of weeks ago from a previous person I coached. It was unexpected and full of sweetness from a young lady. I was over the moon excited that day because I was happy I made an impact.

Then just a few days ago I received another note of thanks but this one was a little different. This was from a player who didn’t make my team but worked hard as an alternate and continued to work on themselves to grow. They didn’t make my team but they made the next team they tried out for. They were appreciative of the coaching, development plan provided, and belief instilled in them despite my short interactions. I was literally swept away by a second young person.

I was again over the moon excited that whole day because I made an impact. It got me thinking about the depth of our relations, impacts and so much more. Many of the kids I coached have reached seniors in high school. Some will go on to play in college while others will enjoy their last years at the high school level.

Whatever their path I’m still cheering for them from afar. Who knew when I coached first graders, fifth graders, or high schoolers how deep my impact would go? I was doing a volunteer job. One I took pride in and invested not only my time but my everything in. It seemed thankless on some days yet it was all worth it when I look back.

There are days I miss coaching. There are also days I’m glad to not be coaching due to politics. At the end of the day I have years of coaching to look back on and I have years ahead to cheer for those I coached as they grow even more. This is the fun part or the added benefit of being a coach. The gift that keeps on giving.

As college commitment times are upon us, I am looking forward to seeing who gets invited to play at the next level, aka college. Not all may desire this path and that is okay. I will just cheer for them when they reach their own milestone, whatever they set in their mind as their next big thing.

I am forever grateful for my coaching time, families that have become friends, kids who have grown to adults and everything that goes along with coaching. The smiles, high fives, tears, wardrobe malfunctions, silly stories, etc.

If you have a chance to mentor or coach a person at any stage in life, go for it. You will receive an abundance of pride in helping another reach their potential that they may not see in themselves.