Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Running Up That Hill.

Inspired by the Placebo cover of Kate Bush's song, Running up that Hill.

So I hit a milestone (hooray!) and I wanted to share!

I remember my nights of diligence in the garage at my parents' home, running on the treadmill. I remember thinking that 20 minutes of continuous running was a great accomplishment. It was, no doubt! But at that point, I thought that was the holy grail.

Especially since previous to high school, fitness and myself were like oil and water. Despite my lack of endurance and strength, it didn't register with me that I should be remotely concerned. I looked great. I learned a lesson the hard way: looks can deceive. My cholesterol started running a bit high; my stamina left much to be desired; I could pass as average, but I knew I was not 'fit'.

This was a hard lesson learned, especially since my knowledge did not immediately translate to living a fit, healthy, active lifestyle. Awareness wasn't enough, sadly.

Enter the point where I learned about marathons, ultramarathons, and the Ironman. I fell in love with the idea that a human being could push their bodies to this limit. It begs the question, what is the limit for any other context? Does it actually exist or is it a figment of society's imagination? There's too much proof in the pudding to allow a person of such mental fiber to be brought down by much. That's exactly the kind of experience I'm looking for.

So, I knew I wanted it. I've officially communicated my desire to do an Ironman with many of my friends. They know. I know. So now what?


I let things languish a bit, I admit. I'm back on track though. Joined the gym at my work. Quit eating up my excuses to not work out (it's dark outside, too tired, want to be home and relax, need more space, not motivated, etc) and overlapped the convenience factor with having the luxury of zero minutes of driving time, great equipment to use at my disposal, being able to take a shower right afterwards and having motivation next to me in the form of my fellow coworkers sweating it out too. :)

I've officially reached the point where I can comfortably jog 3 miles straight. That in itself, is a huge milestone for me. Running a mile straight was a huge milestone I hit when I could consistently do it, only starting a few years ago in college. But I know that I have a long journey to go to be Ironman ready. This keeps me motivated.

I feel like I finally have a foothold. I have something to be extremely proud of! I'm not letting this momentum go. I usually sabotage myself, right when I have a lot of progress.

I feel really good about being able to run 3 miles continuously. I think it'll transition well to increasing my speed (currently I'm all about completing, and running at a pretty slow pace to manage that). Also, this keeps me motivated to move forward with getting off the treadmill and attempting real life terrain where it'd be much more difficult with hills, humidity, and actual movement (much harder than the flat, predictable, steady surface of a treadmill). In the mean time, I can increase my incline, increase my volume, increase my speed, vary my tempo/pace, improve my form, test out different strategies to keep me motivated, and to always be evolving.

I won't diminish my accomplishment by qualifying it with how I need to make it better. I know that I'm lapping everyone on the couch. I'm well aware of those amazing individuals who have built volume over the years to complete marathons. I love them. I WILL be one of them. In the mean time, I definitely will bask in my huge win. Very big step that shows me I've come sooo far, and have lots of momentum and self-love on my side to keep me going.


Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Spark.

In my previous post, the gentleman I referred to I later learned to have a girlfriend.

Of course I was deeply saddened. I like to say I have great intuition but sometimes I learn that my predictions are far from the truth.

I have two more tales I want to share of recent experiences where I felt that magical 'spark' with someone. Despite what happens, if anything, in the future, I just have to note these as being joyful experiences. When I spark with someone, my mind starts to travel at the speed of light, and the possibilities just seem... endless. I have an appreciation for these moments in and of themselves, and I thank these individuals. If anything, I'll have the memory.

So story #1. Ah. So, I bought my dad a flying lesson for his birthday and it turns out he is terrified of flying in planes. For the record, he hid this fear very well. :) So here I am, stuck with an awesome gift. I could have given it to someone else, shopping it around until someone desired it. But in life there are no victims, just volunteers, so I decided you know what, I want to fly a plane! :) I know. Didn't think this day would come. So after making reservations, I arrive on the day of, not wanting to come because it was very out of my comfort zone. Yikes. I walk in the door and after some preliminary introductions, I discover that instructor is 21 but has 3 years of experience. He seemed very professional (stiff) at first, and as we talked more and more, he opened up to me and shared some pretty funny stories about flying and being called 'White Trailer Trash' from someone at Walmart. He told me he started flying at such a young age, 18, and 3 years later, moved thousands of miles away from home in Michigan to start this career. He was very charming and although I was nervous and my palms were sweating at the prospect of flying a plane in the air, he calmed me down considerably with his easy going demeanor. He was one of those individuals that is really a pleasure to talk to with such an interesting story.

Tale #2. Sigh. I'm at the UNICEF hunger banquet and talent show. I was standing in line, and remembered that this is my domain. So I felt very comfortable and using the convenience of proximity I asked the person nearest me, what their name was. From there, someone chimed in that I was one of the previous Presidents of UNICEF. I of course, had to ask a particular question. He sold me when he told me the reason why he loved UNICEF. His answer seemed very sincere, and it sounded like it came from his heart. He spoke up an upbringing in Venezuela and soccer games that used rocks instead of balls. It broke my heart, but it of course made my heart smile at what it's catalyzed him to do. Throughout the night I witnessed him garner more donations from individuals from table to table. It was sincere the way he asked, and being in his shoes, I have to say, it is an extremely hard thing to do. When I chatted with him before I left, I was sold and blown away by his charisma, character, and charm. I don't often say this about people, but I met a shining star that night. I hope he becomes the President of UNICEF in the future.

And these are 2 people that made me forget about the concept of time. Very happy moments in my life. I feel blessed that I'm alive and I'm able to have these moments.