The Blog

Be All In: Key Points for Success

Some time has passed since my last blog entry, and much has happened in the land of ‘Orangezilla’. The loss of my maternal grandmother and coping with that consumed much of my heart and mind; then simultaneously handling affairs while My Champ was away in Sweden for the IFMA World Muay Thai Championships. I was both busy and preoccupied. My number one way to deal with adversity: I get to  WORK!!

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The 2016 Coronation Triathlon took place this past Sunday, May 29th here in Edmonton, AB. I could not have asked for a better day! The weather conditions were perfect, and I was decently rested and fuelled to go. I had followed some carb loading guidelines My Champ had advised before he left, and I will say it totally worked! I had tons of energy to last the entire race, and zero crash. A family friend (an experienced triathlete) who was also taking part in the race had asked me if I had a goal in mind. I had told him based on my best training times, and estimating my transitions (from swimming, to biking, to running) I was hoping to finish around the 2 hour mark. He replied: “This is a tough course. And this being your first triathlon, if you finish in 2 hours, you won’t be making many friends!” He wasn’t trying to doubt me or be rude: he was simply preparing me for possibly falling short of my goal. I simply smiled and shrugged it off. He had never seen me train or race. He is also unaware of my competitive spirit. Instead of feeling discouraged by the comment, I thought to myself “just watch me.”

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My sprint to the finish

As mentioned, I had loads of energy throughout the race. The discipline I feared most, the bike, turned out to be the easiest. I realized just how effective my training was as I passed other cyclists, uphill. For the run I had enough gas in the tank to sprint to the finish line, welcomed by the cheers of my family and friends as well as total strangers. I handed in my time chip, and instantly looked up my time (results were posted immediately). I finished the race at 1 hour, 51 minutes!!! Not only that, but I place 3rd in my age category! As I type this I smile because not only did I beat my goal, but I shocked other seasoned athletes- including my family friend. That particular ‘shock value’ is priceless 🙂

Now that I’ve had several days to reflect on the success of the past weekend, I’ve thought about how I go about approaching each and every challenge. When I put my mind to something I definitely have an ‘all in’ approach. These are the five key points (I have found) to achieving success, in any challenge/goal:

  1. Be VisualImage (78)

    A goal needs to have a timeline: write that date down. You can choose to keep this goal/date/event private in a journal or in your phone; or you can make it public by posting it on social media. Either way, once it’s out there you’re accountable. Week by week write down your training schedule, your meals, your measurements, etc. to keep track of your progress.

  2. Check your ego at the door

    Image (81)Realize that when encountering a new challenge, you won’t be highly skilled right off the bat. Believe me, this one is HARD for me! As long as you allow yourself sufficient time for improvement, you WILL get there. Everyone has to start somewhere. As cliche as that sounds, take it from the girl that could barely ride her road bike 2 months before her race!

  3. Surround yourself with those that are better than you

    This ties in with the point above: accept that you are a student of your craft, and prepare yourself to LEARN. Join training groups, enlist a coach, allow yourself to be a sponge from those who are more skilled or have more experience. I independently joined both swim and bike groups that both respectively had some very skilled athletes. It was scary, it was intimidating: but I learned so much from both. It was all the more rewarding watching myself improve in the midst of such talented company.

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    My friend and seasoned triathlete Carlene, post-race

  4. Don’t cut corners

    You know the saying ‘hard work pays off’? Well just like how all your hard work will be evident on race/event day, so will it if you half-assed your preparation. Leave nothing to chance. Train hard, practice perfect, take in the proper nutrition, and you will NOT be disappointed with the results.

  5. Know your ‘why’

    Image (79)Last but not least, I feel this is the most important point of all. Many of us will have moments where we stop and think ‘why am I doing this?’ And we’re right to do so. But the ‘why’ has to be good enough in order to keep going. My ‘why’ is almost always to prove something to myself. It never has to do with anyone else. Your why can be anything at all: just keep in mind that it should be something related to your self-love and respect in the end.

    Why be all in? Why be so intense? Why do anything at all, if you can’t give your best… That’s my question 😉

Quitting is Immature

A couple months ago I was training with My Champ (a VERY rare occasion) and he noticed I was getting frustrated. He was teaching me some new lifts, and also (trying to) help me with my current technique on a few things. He called me out on my anger: “You can’t get mad just because you’re not good at something. You can’t just give up because you’re not immediately perfect (at this).” Man, is he good. Those who do not know me well may think I am good at most things- the truth is, I am NOT and the things I excel at took much time and effort before I mastered them.

I used this example to get through a tough day I had at work this past week. I won’t divulge into the specifics of what went on, but my confidence was suffering greatly at my job. I’m taking on a lot of new responsibilities in one of my roles at the hospital, and though I’ve been at this for a while there are days where I feel I’m just not good enough. Funny thing is, I had been having a great few weeks of training, and my personal life has never been better. Something had to shift, I suppose. I confided in a couple of colleagues regarding my concerns in my performance, and I’m so glad I did. Both individuals gave me the reassurance I needed: questioning yourself sometimes shows how much you CARE, and I am NORMAL!! Who doesn’t question themselves from time to time? Being over-confident can definitely backfire, especially in my line of work. No one is completely flawless. We should always be thinking of ways to self-improve or be better in our daily tasks. We (and by this I mean me) should also forgive ourselves and understand that we are human and can’t always be perfect.

I have to remind myself sometimes that I will never ‘know it all’ and I am going to screw up. That’s life. The world of health care and management is constantly changing and evolving, and I will always have to adapt. Getting back to the example I gave with My Champ: I can’t just give up when something is hard. That gets me nowhere, if not backwards. Can you imagine what our lives would be like if we quit because we weren’t automatically ‘perfect’? We would never learn how to walk: we would all be crawling; none of us would learn to ride our bikes because we fell; we would remain illiterate; we would refer to spaghetti only as ‘noodles’ because we kept saying ‘pisghettie’ instead. Ridiculous, isn’t it? Life takes effort and practice. I do tend to relate many life experiences to training, because the challenges we face physically are a metaphor to the obstacles we face in the outside world. Life, like lifting or running, doesn’t get easier- you just get better. Don’t ever quit; humble yourself, and grow to be better than before.

Purposeful Training: A Wake-Up Call on ‘Body Image’

*Images courtesy of Taylor Oakes for BodyRock.tv

As previously mentioned in last week’s blog (‘Know When It’s Time to Walk Away’) I have began training for my first-ever, full triathlon. How might a former figure competitor, gym rat, circuit-training queen come to will this upon herself?? A good girlfriend of mine messaged me and asked if I’d be up for the challenge: and like the yes-girl I am, I said ‘hell yes!!’ I actually even one-upped myself (because I’m such an arrogant brat; please note the sarcasm) and thought that a sprint distance would be too ‘easy’, and decided to go for the full distance. I am admittedly a strong runner, and since I have 16 weeks total to prepare I would just train harder at the swimming and biking. Right?!?

For those of you that don’t know, a sprint-distance triathlon is as follows: a 500 m swim; 13 km bike; 4 km run. A standard distance is double that. I am in the midst of preparing for a 1 km swim; 26 km bike; 8 km run. And it is humbling as hell.

I will share with you all my experience the first day I went for swim practice. I met with up with a friend (different friend from the one who challenged me, but also does triathlons) at the Sports Centre she trains out of, as she wanted to introduce me to her coach. She had mentioned something about having second thoughts meeting up with me, the former fitness competitor, and wearing our swimsuits: barefaced in front of each other. I laughed it off and assured her I was by no means in ‘shredded’ condition to make her feel in such a way. Come to think of it, the old-Lindsay would be far more self-conscious being in a bathing suit anything less than shoot shape herself. Weird. That didn’t happen this time.

In the women’s change room I made quick glances at noting the varied ages in the women getting ready for practice. I was most likely the youngest, if not second-youngest there. Some women were old enough to be my mother, but most were within 5-15 years my senior. Not once did I catch a glimpse of their bodies- again, weird. Women- we check each other out. It’s biological. Not in a sexual kind of way, but it’s in our nature to sort of size each other up. It’s not meant to be negative. We’re just scoping out the healthy competition!

As I walked out on to the pool deck I saw some of the others already starting their swim. They were all very well seasoned I’d say: everyone doing turnover turns (a fast way of turning around underwater while lane swimming) and swimming at rather brisk paces. The lanes were set up for 25 m-length lanes. I got in that pool water and went for it. There and back, not so bad… except I was gasping for air! The coach had noticed my efforts and stopped to chat with me. He asked me how my breathing felt; I said “it’s pretty hard.” He said it would take me approximately 6 weeks of going at least 2-3 times/week to normalize my breathing. He also said that since I have more muscle mass than average, I would have a harder time getting adequate oxygen to my tissues. Man-this is going to be MUCH more challenging than I thought! I admitted to him that I hadn’t swam like this in 20 years- a whole lifetime ago. It was very apparent I had my work cut out for me. All the other men and women in the pool were blowing me away. It was incredible watch: individuals of all ages exploding with raw athleticism. I felt a fire light inside.

 

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Exiting the pool, it was only then that I became aware of the varied body types we all had. I was by far the tallest and most muscular- and I was also one of the slowest. I felt a pit in my stomach: my aesthetics did not serve me here. They mean nothing now. It doesn’t matter how ‘jacked’ my shoulders are: women that are half my size/stature are LAPPING me! As I showered, I thought “how am I going to adjust to this new training? Swim, 2-3 TIMES a week?? Plus biking… plus running..” I then realized that I am no longer in the business to volume-train or train for hypertrophy (muscle growth). I am strictly to prepare for the task at hand: the Coronation Triathlon, May 29th. If there is any sort of strength I am bringing to the table, it is my work ethic.

It has now been about 2.5 weeks since I fully committed to this new conquest, and so much has had to change: my training, my nutrition (I’ll get to those topics in future blogs) and most importantly my outlook. Training with a purpose gives me such a greater respect for the human body- and MY body in particular. Sure, I am a little ‘softer’ now than I would normally like. But I am the strongest I’ve been in years. I want to nourish my body as best I can. It’s about performing to my full capacity, and improving upon that. I can tell the other women in the swim group aren’t scoffing at their flaws: they’re complimenting one another on their swim, when is there next meet, oh and the new banana bread recipe they tried last night- without guilt. It’s a new culture, a positive one.

It has been said many times that it’s good to get out of your comfort zone, and I can tell you I have done just that. I have already said to myself a couple times: “what have I gotten myself into?” But I also know that’s exactly why I should be doing it. Being uncomfortable gets you to grow as person, I have found. I have a new focus, a new purpose, and a much healthier view of my own body, just the way it is. Stay tuned 🙂

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