Monday, June 20, 2016

Training with Bella

There is nothing better than training with my daughter.  Do you work out with your kids?

We are currently training for the Squaw Creek Army Challenge with some extra classes twice a week at Kosama.  There is a park just a half mile away from the gym that we run to.  It is so much fun doing various exercises on the playground equipment.  Who knew how tiring it could be running up playground equipment?

The workout consisted of step ups on benches, push ups, using baby swings as TRX for rows and of course getting through the playground equipment.  That was followed by a run back to the gym for some kettle bell exercises, TRX and battle ropes.  It was a great workout, I am so proud of everyone that made it and am especially proud of our Bella for pushing herself and doing amazing!

I have finally made it to a point in my life where I am once again happy with my training routine and not feeling too tied down by any certain goal.  My goals have all combined and everything is in harmony.

Being a part of such a wonderful, supportive community of awesome people at Kosama has made a big difference.  Working out with Bella when we can is just the BEST!  She is eager to learn proper technique and wants to be strong like her mom and dad.

This is balance, this is our life and I am loving it.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Be Fit For You!

Pure honesty is about to happen, I am not writing this post for sympathy.  I am writing because I need to and there are probably others out there feeling similar.

The past couple of months have been.......mentally difficult.  I am grateful that my daughter is happy and healthy, my husband is healing well from his recent back surgery, we have a home, our animals are awesome.  There is an insanely exciting opportunity on the horizon for Kyle and myself.  Work is going well, my life is filled with wonderful family and friends..

Yet here I sit in my trapped state of mind and body I don't recognize...

The illness and injuries I had that made me unable to exercise frustrated me, I was inactive for about three months.  I ate whatever I wanted because I was sad and frustrated and as a result I gained about 30 pounds.

The past couple of months I have gotten back to running, it has been HARD.  Breathing has been difficult, my body feels heavy and most times I want to quit.   Running the race a few weeks ago with my brother was very much needed, we did have fun and I love spending time with him.  Sand volleyball has started which we all know makes me incredibly happy.

 Kosama, the gym my husband is the GM for, is amazing and full of kind, wonderful people.  It is a fun gym, kickboxing is my favorite day and yet I don't get there as often as I want.  The new gym I joined is really nice and again I don't get there as often as I would like.

So here I sit going back and forth between being active, half ass training for races, not cleaning up my eating and feeling like crap about myself because the weight stays on and I just feel like crap.  I know, I know, pick yourself up, think positive, don't beat yourself up, you are not a failure....I've heard it all.

Life is filled with so many highs and lows.  In my fitness life my high was competing, standing on stage with all of these beautiful women and working so damn hard for one of my biggest goals.  I truly enjoyed it, I rebounded after my first competition but got right back at it.

I even inspired my nephew's wife to compete with me in my second competition and I became a sponsored athlete, another huge dream.


I have officially hit my fitness low, today in a single moment I completely broke down.  A series of events led to this moment.  How have I let myself go?  How have do I continue to make choices that are not in my best interest?  How are other moms who compete able to do it all?

Deep down I know the answers.  I know there are more people out there other than myself who have either dealt with something similar, are currently dealing with it and those who are dealing with and have been through far worse.  That is when the thinking of, damn it Steph get your shit together, consumes me.

It is going to be HARD over the next couple of months to truly get back into making healthier choices.  Food really is a drug and an addiction, one I have to fight.  Believe me I do enjoy healthy, whole foods and make them often for dinner, breakfast is normally great too.  But during the day I will go through the drive through at lunch and on weekends I just eat whatever the heck I want.  It has gotten to the point where I almost try to hide it.

So here we go world, this chick has lost too much of herself, gotten lost in the business of daily life, moping over who I have become and doing nothing about it.  I know part of the reason for my lack of gym time is honestly feeling ashamed about how I look.  No one has ever said anything but in my head I imagine people thinking, didn't she do figure competitions, wasn't she super fit, what happened to her?

The worst part is that I haven't spoken to anyone besides my very supportive, uplifting, loving husband.  I know it hurts him to watch me act as I have and be so down on myself.  My beautiful Bella has not seen this hurting side of me, for her I have kept it bottled up.  In the end that can hurt your child, I realized that today as I picked her up from school.  My eyes were swollen and red, I always have ugly cries and that is not something you can hide.  Immediately her smile turned to a frown and the concern on her face was alarming.

She asked me what was wrong and in my head I couldn't figure out how to explain it to her.  So I simply said, mommy is just a little frustrated today and needs to get back to who she is.  I asked her if she understood what I meant and she said yes she also said she knows I am sad sometimes and she just wants me to be happy.  I was wrong, even though I thought I was hiding it from her she still knew.

Yeah, ugly crying all over again.

So I decided to sit down and do something that makes me feel better, write and be honest.  Man it really has helped, I'm not crying anymore and I really feel like I know what I need to do.  Take my own damn advice I give everyone else!  Take things day by day, do my runs for my half marathon training when I need to.  Allow myself to be more free with weight training and Kosama, do whichever one I feel like each day.  Get back to having fun with making foods I love in a much healthier way.  Most importantly stop putting pressure on myself.

I have always been goal oriented, as in huge massive goals.  It is time to keep with smaller goals and see where they take me.  The stage will always be there if I choose to compete again and I do know there is no race to the finish line in life, even with fitness.

Anyone out there struggling please know that it truly happens to all of us.  I need to work on ME in so many ways, so please take care of YOU.  

Tomorrow I have a 10 mile run for my half marathon training and get to spend the afternoon with my entire AMAZING family.  Sunday I get more family time and I get to play volleyball.  In this moment I am feeling some relief and like I can find myself again.  

Monday, April 11, 2016

Loop the Lake 8k

I ran the Loop the Lake 8k in Des Moines on Saturday with my little brother Larry.  Initially we were a little concerned with how the weather would turn out, we knew it would be chilly and probably windy.  The course went around beautiful Gray's Lake on the paved trails around the lake.

When we picked up our race packets it was funny to find out we were numbers 7 and 8, not sure how that happened when we signed up on different days :)  It was 29 degrees and the winds by the lake were about 16mph, so a bit less windy than my previous runs.  My nerves were settled and I was excited to run, I love the atmosphere of races!  

My brother is one that can just go out and run with minimal training.  It takes me a couple of months just to get my base built up so I can feel somewhat good on long runs.  He did run the first two miles with me, then I told him to just take off and go his own pace :)

Even though we were on trail paths it wasn't bad because this race didn't have a ton of runners so I never felt crowded.  There were some small hills spread throughout but overall it was a flat course.  My goal was to come in under 55 minutes on the clock.  This was my first run in two months that I actually felt good, how perfect to finally have that on race day!

My official time was 51:34, 10:22/mile :)  I am very happy with how I did and feel like I got some confidence back after this race.  They happened to have the BEST post race drink ever.........chocolate milk!  We plan on adding this race in each year to kick off the season.

After showering we headed out for some lunch at Jethro's in West Des Moines.  I love this place, they have some of the best BBQ and they had Summer Shandy on tap, it was a great post race celebration :)

The drive home was tiring but everyone was happy to see me and hear about my run.  Kyle and Bella had a Kick Out Cancer event at Kosama and they had a blast!  Here is a Bella holding a side plank :)

All in all it was a wonderful weekend for all of us.  Yesterday we had thunderstorms so we all enjoyed a movie/game day.  My handsome boy Hurley was happy to have his momma home and didn't leave my side the rest of the weekend :)  He's ready to get in on some of the running action with me!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Running * Lifting * Wondering

Lately I have found myself in this constant loop of knowing what I want to do but am also feeling pulled in other directions and ending up a bit lost.

My main goal is to build muscle mass for 2017, that is my greatest hearts desire.  Second on my list is to continue running and participating in races, this is proving to be difficult.  Runs have been slow, my body feels heavy and it has been crazy windy here.  I truly do feel like this...

Although that basset hound is dang cute running his little legs off ;)  My first race of the season is Saturday, an 8k which will thankfully not be too bad for me AND it is just two laps around a beautiful lake in Des Moines.  I am running with my brother, well to be honest we are running the same race and he will be far ahead of me :)  And after my run I actually looked like this...

I know it will get easier but this is the roughest start to running I've ever had.  I try to think of all the tips I've read, find inspiration from others because I do know that it WILL get easier and more enjoyable again.

Where I feel pulled in a different directions is with the gym my husband works at.  It is AMAZING, it makes me happy and the people I work out with are incredible!  My dilemma is that although I truly enjoy it there for my own personal goals to work toward competing again, I have to stick with my lifting schedule.  I LOVE lifting heavy and having a very strict schedule when it comes to my lifting days.

So that leaves me with lifting 5-6 days a week, currently running four days a week and hoping to add in a Kosama class once a week.  In my ever working mind I feel I can find balance somehow with all of this.  I just happen to truly enjoy doing way too many things!

Sand volleyball begins on April 24th so that adds in two hours of volleyball on Sundays.  This is by far my favorite sport and I cannot wait to get started!  My sweet Bella also wants us to start doing some family workouts at Kosama on Sundays, which I am THRILLED about.  Oh and she would like to start running with me, but only when I do 2 mile runs, which I really don't so I need to fit that in somewhere.

I get it life is busy, I am in awe of so many people I see accomplishing so many different things.  My sense of organization is not the best, I am working on it but it is hard.

I work a full-time job, that I truly enjoy.  My daughter is in dance, she is ready to start track and any other sport we can get her into.  This leaves me realizing the best plan is to lift in the mornings before work, eventually get that 1-2 mile run in with Bella and our dog Hurley after my lifting.  Leave my longer runs for after work and add in a Kosama class once a week on a non running day.

Life is about living and enjoying it while we can.  Anyone able to pass on some ideas and send me positive vibes of organization is greatly appreciated!  Living healthy and active truly is a joy even if figuring it all out can be a bit stressful at times.  Bella helps me to see that I am doing things right, she supports me and appreciates what I do at home too and so does my husband.  Her little eyes help me stay on track and be truly motivated, I can't wait to start enjoying more of these activities with her.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Creating Goals for 2016

As we begin a new year just about everyone is working on creating resolutions and setting goals for themselves.  This can be daunting or it can be exciting!  A lot of times we put so much pressure on ourselves setting that goal of making this year completely life changing.  Sure there are people out there ready to do just that but there are also people out there that are setting smaller more achievable goals for themselves.  There is nothing wrong with either way as long as your heart is in it and you actually have fun along the way.  As long as you have a plan, good resources and lots of support anyone can achieve any goal or resolution they set for themselves.

Personally I find myself changing my own goals for 2016.  It has been slightly difficult, a little overwhelming but also finally exciting.  My mind has been constantly swirling with thoughts of competing.  First of all I LOVE it, I just truly enjoy the experience, watching my body change and working hard in the gym.  Secondly as a Complete Nutrition sponsored athlete I have felt that I HAVE to be actively competing, but in reality I don't.  As an athlete I do far more than compete, I am also a runner who participates in races and a volleyball player who plays sand volleyball six months out of the year, last year I participated in my first mud run.  I am more than just a figure competitor, I am an all around athlete who truly believes in the products I use from Complete Nutrition in EVERY sport I participate in.  If anyone is interested please check them out, they currently have a great deal where you can get 22% off of your first order.  My favorite product by far (and I've mentioned it before) is  3Plenish, I never run a race or play volleyball without it!

Dealing with injuries has been frustrating and is the reason behind my change in goals.  I planned on competing in the spring, a sprained wrist moved that to the fall, today I will find out if I have a stress fracture in my right foot, gah!  Time to be smart, listen to my body and that has led me to decide that I will compete when I am ready.  It may be this fall or I may take this year to just work on building what I have lost these past three months in a smart way and compete in 2017.  The stage isn't going anywhere and I know I have some serious work to do.

Sand season begins for me in April, there are no if's, and's or but's about it.  Once January hits I count down the days to the end of April because sand volleyball is by far my FAVORITE sport.  I don't think I can honestly put into words how much I love it :)  I've got a partner in doubles counting on me a my three teammates for four's, they support me and make me a better athlete our time together is something I cherish so much.

The above image really speaks to me, my goals have become all of the above, specific, measurable, achievable, REALISTIC and time based.  We have to be real with ourselves and know what we can truly handle which means being completely honest with ourselves.  One other goal I set and will complete soon is getting my degree as a nutritionist, simply for myself.  So that I am wiser and more knowledgeable when it comes to fueling my body for any sport and cutting for competition.  If I can help others in the end that will just be a huge bonus!

Here's to 2016, may we all have realistic goals and have a healthy, happy year full of fun and rewarding achievements!