Juggling Priorities

When I started this #becomingabetterme campaign, I had one goal in mind… to be a better me. All the way around, from top to bottom, inside and out… just better. The one thing I could not see coming was how  I would have to prioritize the parts of me I wanted to make better.

I have stated in the past that the first stop was actually losing weight, as it was the easiest part of me to improve. Then how I handled people around me. Family, friend, coworkers, etc. Well, the next step would naturally be my career. That is where this blog is going.

Over the last few weeks, I have been trying to settle into my new/morphed position at work. I have been in the housing industry for the last almost 10 years, a lot of that in community management, the last four years in compliance, the last three years in compliance and operation and now managing property operations and compliance. This new position will take more time and probably more patience. Something that I have really had to put at the forefront of my campaign. I am a Gemini, and by nature, we suck at patience. (For you gems reading this, don’t pretend like that insulted you… you know I am right!)

The other thing this position is taking more of, at least for right now, is my time. I want to make sure that everything that is still on my plate until the morphing is complete, gets done, so working weekends and after hours at home is a must. I am perfectly content putting in the hours because the more I do, the better I become, but here is where the juggling happens.

Knowing that I have been unable to get to the gym, I have at least made it a point to watch what I eat. So I have been working off of a modified Whole 30 diet. Since I know that my body relies on the exercise to keep going, but the time and energy does not allow for gym going, I knew that being careful was going to be a must.

Tonight I made it a point to take an extra 45 mins out of my day to get to the gym. I wasn’t going to beat myself up, but I needed that treadmill sweat. I needed the music in my ears as watched the screen show the distance work its way to one mile. My body was starting to crave it, and I had to give in.

I cannot lie, while #becomingabetter me is still my priority, I am truly struggling with which part of ME gets top priority? How does one decide that?

My fearless leader swears by the motto “WORK TO LIVE, DON’T LIVE TO WORK” but when work is a passion (which anyone who work for a not for profit, has to have), and even a huge part of the bettering process, I don’t really look at it that way.

Bottom line, there has to be a way to be a better me at work and still continue to be a better me physically. Every step I have taken so far has been an obstacle, I guess this juggling thing is just the next one?

 

 

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Life Without Mr T.

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Without going into detail, my house has been under some financial stress starting back in May. I realize it happens to everyone once in awhile, but it took a toll on us.

When we figured out the only way to get through it was to tighten the belts and just power on, we sat down at the kitchen table and made a plan. More dinner at home, less eating out, leftovers for lunch, date nights would be games at home or OnDemand movies, but even that was not going to be enough. We looked further into our finances and Hammy and Jarrett agreed that they would both put a freeze on their gym memberships. As much as I appreciated that from them, I couldn’t do it, I just couldn’t. I use the gym as my sanctuary and might go insane if I tried to completely give it up, so I compromised and said I would stop with my trainer, Mr T, for a few months.

When I first signed my contract with Mr T, it was only going to be for six months. I knew that with my Spartan race coming up, I needed him to push me in a way I could not. I wasn’t really sure what that meant, but he figured it out rather quickly. As I have talked about in previous posts, getting the guidance of Mr T was eye opening for me. Starting out with him in September, I was not ready for what he had in store. Even though I had already been going to the gym for over a year, I had never put that kind of strain on myself. There were lots of squats, lots of lunges, lots of battle ropes, and even some bench pressing… I also believe there was some crying, some whining, and even some (sorry, but I swore this would be good bad and ugly) puking. Basically EVERYTHING my body was not used to.

It is now July. A little over two months since I have heard Mr T yell at me and tell me I could do it… but I think I have this. Last night when I went to the gym, I walked in and I was not sure what I was going to do. I stood by the water fountain as I filled my water bottle and chuckled as I literally said out loud, “WWMTD” (for those of you who don’t speak Heather, that was What Would Mr T Do). I decided the first thing he would have me do was some cardio, as he finished with the client he always had before our session, so I opted for the elliptical where I kicked out a mile. Then after that I stood in front of the mirror where we always called “home base” and looked around at my options… I knew that with the 12# kettle bell in front of me that is where he would have me start. So that’s what I did. Next I headed over to the machine I called the “crunch machine” (he told me what it was but stopped arguing with my Heather style names for everything.) where I did crunched until my belly hurt. What to do next?   I looked up and saw the medicine balls and knew that’s when he would have me do side bounces. From there I walked back to the “leg squeezer” where I did my push outs and squeeze ins and mixed in my lat pull downs. Doing the rounds of all of these exercises, just like he would have told me.

When I finished with my last set I looked around the empty gym and although he was not with me, I could hear him in my head making wise cracks, singing the music that the gym plays and teasing me.

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When I agreed to let Mr T go back in May, it broke my heart, but I have to say, he left a his mark on me. I appreciate everything he has done, and will continue to channel him when I need that extra kick in the butt! #becomingabetterme is so much easier when you have people on your side who understand and are good at getting you to the next step. Thank you Mr T!

I Can’t Unsee That

A good friend and I were having a nice conversation today. We talk daily, so we are always sharing things we have seen. Somewhere in our conversation he pops off with a “Hey, did you see the article about the Playboy Playmate body shaming a woman at the gym?”  I had not seen or heard about it, so he sent me the link. Before I read it, I was a little annoyed, thinking that someone was getting shamed AT THE GYM, stupid – but then, I read the article. I WAS LIVID!

(To start I will say it was posted on TMZ, so feel free to give it a read for yourself)

The long and short of the story is this Playmate, Dani Mathers, is at the gym, in the “locker room” and took a picture of a naked gym goer taking a shower and body shaming her on social media. Her Mean Girl antics have got her into some seriously hot water (and I personally vote for jail time), but the kicker is her public apology that basically said, “I am not sorry I am a b*tch and meant what I said, I am sorry I got caught saying it out loud!”

After talking telling my friend I read the article, and finished practicing my swear words, we changed the tone of the chatter. We talked about the big what if…

What if that were me??  I have been going to the gym for about two(ish) years now, and am past the initial ‘everyone is watching me’ feeling that I had at the beginning of my visits… but what if I wasn’t… what if someone actually shamed me in my first visit… WHERE WOULD I BE??

The answer to that is sadly simple, I would be exactly where I was two plus years ago, unhappy, overweight, and unhealthy. Those thoughts alone make me tear up. More than that, I would not be where I am. I know that sounds like a “duh” statement, but there is so much involved in that. I would not have met my new friends (and family) on my Cornfed team. I would not have had enough self confidence to go on adventures without a responsible adult to be my security blanket. I would never had the belief in myself to finish – not one, but tw0 – Spartan races. I would not have been able to better myself enough to become a trusted and respected coworker to my team. Above and beyond all of these things, I would not have found myself. Yes, I found me. I am now the person I knew I could be… or at least am pointed in the direction of becoming that better person I am striving to be.

It scares me to think I would lose my sanctuary. I use the gym as my outlet for daily stress, I go and walk my negative thoughts away, I lift away the ugliness that I see going on in the world, and come out stronger and lighter. I need that.

What Dani Mathers did to that poor woman is the lowest of low, and I only hope that it does not turn her off from #becomingabetterher … and take away whatever it is that the gym does for her. I hope that she has the inner strength to give Dani the middle finger and go right back to doing her thang, and doing it her way!

When I thought about writing this post I was so mad, I was worried that I would just use this as a rant, and I finish up (I am still mad, don’t think for a second I am not) it shows me how lucky I am to go to a gym where everyone is friendly. Thank you for being awesome, AnyTime.

Keep it classy, Dani Mathers… hope orange is your new black!

Where Do I Find My Next Adventure?

It has been less than a month since I started saying, “I am 40” when asked my age… and I am still really not used to it.

The day of my 40th was definitely one for the record books…. quite the party, if I do say so myself, and definitely a highlight to the new decade of my life, but that wasn’t the last adventure I have had.

The week after my birthday we went straight into the NESCO Olympics (Near East Side Community Organization Olympics), which involved some kickball, some volleyball, trivia, cards, tug o’war, frisbee golf, and cornhole, just to name a few.

Then there was the REO, Def Leppard, and Tesla concert. Added in was a day at the waterpark with my mother, kids, and nephews just for fun.  Then as recent as yesterday, an (almost) 5k with my bestie  to enjoy a Saturday morning in the park.

There is not a single adventure listed above that would take back. I loved each and every one of them for what they were. What I will say is I miss pushing myself. I miss getting dirty. I miss my team. And I really miss the feeling of accomplishment.

After looking at the calendar, and the bank account, there is no way of running a Spartan this year. I haven’t found a 5k that has really struck my fancy. So creating my own track and getting a virtual 5k medal, has been what I have done. None of that is really sparking me. I need a new adventure, I need a new challenge.

The question is, what do I do??? I feel like I should be trying something new, but have no idea what that should be??? I don’t want to sound like I am whining, but I think I am… #becomingabetterme was started at the beginning of this journey to remind myself that this was all about doing more, being more, but now… now I feel stuck.

I guess the only thing left to say is, life might be knocking me down right now, but since Life hits like a b*tch, I will just get back up and keep searching for that next challenge, because afterall, I am #stilltrying.

Mile Minus Minutes

IMG_20160523_210859On Monday May 23, 2016 I got two seconds closer to my goal.

To say that sounds absolutely silly, I know, but what if I say that those two seconds are being added to nine minutes. Whaaaa?!?!?! Yeah, I said it! Nine minutes!

Let me tell you a story.

When I started doing races and exercising I had NO idea what it meant to time a mile. I had only ever done OCRs where there were bottlenecks at the obstacles in a Spartan and then there were stopping points where you play in the mud at the Dirty Girl or fun 5Ks where you stopped to get sprayed with neon colored goo in the Neon Dash or even maybe a stop for hot chocolate at the Santa Hustle. There was never a time where I wanted to know how long I could do a mile in.

The more serious I got about exercise the more I learned, that like with anything, to get better you have to know where you start. So one afternoon last summer, I decided to go to park and walk the track and see exactly how long it took me.

Now I am not going to pretend that I went as fast as I could, or pushed myself as hard a could. I wanted to make sure that I could complete the full mile. I feel I should also say, (since I vowed to always be honest in this journey – whether it be good, bad or ugly) that although I had done 5Ks and OCRs, I got winded fast and was always glad for a brief breather.

Anywho, in that lap around the 1 mile track at Hummel Park I timed myself at a 27 min mile. Now, I know that is really a sad starting point, but it was the truth. Here I am, less than a year later looking at the timer on the treadmill thinking “HOLY MONKEYS I DID IT!!” I got under 18 mins! Now, as you all have figured it out, I always have another goal, and this is not an exception. I am still trying to figure out this whole running thing (still a work in progress), but I would like to see a 15-16 min mile, but that’s another story.

Before I put a nice little bow on this blog, just let me say that I look back over the course of the last year(ish) having pictures and comments and now even this website to look at, I take a moment to relish in the victories I have had and the milestones I have accomplished and even more than that how much better I feel mentally and physically. There have been so many of you who – without even knowing it – have inspired me to keep going. For that, I thank you all and wish you success in your journeys as well.

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Accepting Defeat and Denying Success

I have written about failing and accepting that, even learning from it, but this different. When you fail it is a singular event. Failing a test, failing to complete the housework you wanted to do, even failing to properly communicate how you wanted something done. That is fine, we are human, these things happen. What I am talking about is accepting defeat. Believing that when I do succeed it was fluke, or that what I did wasn’t really that good.

Every time I talk about something that I have accomplished there is always the BUT on the end. “I did the race in 62 mins, BUT I should have gone faster.” “I have lost 37 pounds, BUT it has taken me over a year.” “Mr Trainer told me I did good today BUT I really didn’t get the weight in that I wanted.”

What is wrong with me? In every one of the above statements I succeeded!    Why is it so hard to accept that I have done something good?

I have also said on numerous occasions this journey has been about #becomingabetterme all the way around. I think this is something that I should make sure I work on next. A 20160410_140623little bragging on myself could not hurt.

I am going to start with today’s work out. I hate battle ropes. I always worry about my arms not being able to handle them, that it will hurt me, or that I wont be able to do it and I will disappoint Mr Trainer. Not today! Today we did circuit training and in the first round I had to do 40 flips and I had NO trouble. It was refreshing!!! Apparently Mr Trainer was so impressed he added another 10. My second round he had me do 50, and I did it! Normally when I even look at the ropes I get increased heart rate and palm sweat, but today, I didn’t. I can sit here and tell you how big of a deal that is, but it could not do justice to how impressive it really is. Add to this, after I finished my 3 rounds of 3 circuits, Mr Trainer tells me to get on the recumbent bike… for those of you who have no idea what that is, it is a weird contraption that I normally call “the crazy bike hand mover thing”.  This thing tells you how many laps you have done and how far you have gone, with the use of your legs and your arms, like a treadmill. He had me doing 5 mins after my 30 min work out, and I ended up doing 7 mins just to finish my third lap. I was tired, but I felt good!

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this the Recumbent bike… like a bike with elliptical foot hold and arm movement

 

Anyway, the moral of the story is there is no BUT in my day. I am going to accept my success and not think about defeat. Today, I was not defeated.

Bling or No Bling?!

There are days when I am headed to the gym and I just say, “today… today I am going to do a 5k!”

For whatever reason this always happens on Saturday mornings when the sun is out and it is just beautiful. One would think those are the days where I would want to hit the trail, or even go to the park and hike, but for some crazy reason those are the day when I want to get on my favorite treadmill (the one on the end closes to the windows so I can enjoy the sunshine – again one would think I would want to do it outside, but I do better on the treadmill). I turn on HGTV with closed captioned so I can watch reruns of FLIP OR FLOP or FIXER UPPER put in my ear buds and go for it. A 5k in about 65 minutes. No frills, no big production, no costumes or novelty Tshirt… just walking, tv, and the sunshine.

On Facebook there are always virtual 5ks popping up in my feed. Sometimes the medals are gorgeous, sometimes not so much, but the question is, every time you do a 5k either at the park or on the treadmill should I get a new medal? I mean, we don’t call ourselves bling whores for nothing, right?  With that, does it make you snooty to sign up for virtual 5ks and not actually go to the big events all over the city?

Well, for right now, those questions are all back burners, because today I saw a bling that I must have! I even went to the gym to get in a “warm up” of a mile and a halfFB_IMG_1459299889789 so I can get up bright and early – or about 10am – to get my new bling in. Here it is…

Anywho, the point is, (other than this specific nerdy bling that I MUST have) is it ok to run a 5k every weekend and order the bling?  Is there really any difference between a virtual 5k and regular big crown running – 5k? Somebody please help me, because I don’t know what to do about my desire for bling, I can’t help it… l am an addict!

 

Sometimes I Fail

Me cargo net 2When I first started my journey, or pretty much any endeavor in life, I ask those who have been through it to tell me the good, the bad, and the ugly of how they got where they are or how they achieved the goal that they set out to achieve… and 99% of the time the answer was something along the lines of “EMBRACE THE SUCK” or “I JUST DECIDED TO DO IT AND I DID IT”. Those answers, my friends, are not and were not helpful. So, when I started this blog, I promised myself (and those who asked) that I would talk about the good, THE BAD, and THE UGLY!

Today’s story is an ugly one. Of course I will inevitably find the silver lining (because that is what I do)… but it sure doesn’t start off all rainbows and sunshine.

Last night I got a text from my trainer asking if I was going to make it, I messaged him back saying I would, unless he needed to reschedule… now, this was not a ploy to get out of going to the gym, actually I was looking forward to it, I was just trying to be accommodating of his time as well. Anyway, he replied with, “nope, you better be here!” To which I thought, sure, no problem.

I got the gym about 20 mins before my time slot so I decided to hop on the treadmill, which is what he would have had me do anyway. I set my speed at 3.1 and took off. I got 3/4 of a mile done in less 15 mins, but decided to stop so I could hit the restroom and fill my water bottle up before we started. Mind you, I was still ready to go for it.

He called me over when it was my turn to start, and we spoke our regular greetings, and chatted as he set up the bench for me.

Let me back up a second, I should say that his work outs with me are three different exercises twice around, and we do three different sets. Mixed into this work out is always lunges and squats. Always. Sometimes he throws in jumping jacks, sit ups, or burpees, but I can guarantee to be doing the lunges and the squats.

OK, so he has me working on the bench, then dumb bells,  then incline bench, then incline dumb bells… and the further into this work out I get the more I feel that familiar burning in my forearms. I am trying, with everything I have, to push back the freak out I can feel brewing in my gut, while at the same time push the bar and the dumb bells up over my head, but neither was happening.

I had to stop. There was no more. The voice in my head told me it was full on freak out time, so my body complied. Light headed, dizzy, sick to my stomach, all of it. Then to add insult to injury, I could feel the burning behind my eyelids. I was about to cry. I knew I failed, and I hated it. So what did I do next? Well, I quickly said goodbye and left. The second I got to my car the waterworks started. For a minute there, I hated myself. Full on self loathing…

I drove home and went over every moment of the work out to analyze exactly which point was my breaking point and when I figured it out, I calmed down a little bit. I knew it was all about my limits. I know that the point of work outs are to find your limit and march past it, but with my arms I can’t do that. I can push a little, even tip toe over the edge, but there is no marching.

Even after a coming to terms with what happened, I know I failed. And I am actually ok with it. Failing is part of becoming better. What I won’t do is quit. Absolutely will not.

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here is the text from my trainer… he couldn’t be more right.

About 30 minutes after I got home I got a text from my trainer, checking on me. After explaining where I was in my head, and the conclusion I made, he sent me another text, this time reminding me to look ahead.

I know sometimes I will fail, otherwise #becomingabetterme won’t be worth it.

 

Coming Full Circle

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Two of my favorite CornFed inspirations, testing my skills and pushing me out “on a limb” @ Shades State Park (thanks Chris and Mike, love you guys!!)

For the last two years I have been using words like reps, squats, work outs, calories (and burpees) in pretty much daily life. I have posted transformation pictures, gym memes, race photos, even gone as so far as to talk about my trials and tribulations with the elliptical… but I never really understood what that was doing. I was just being me. That was all. I mean social media is to a place where you talk about what is going on in your life, right? Well, that is what I was doing. Or at least I thought that was what I was doing.

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When I decided to get healthy, I was really paying attention to others who were doing similar things, I found my inspirations in people who probably didn’t even know. I found myself interested more in small victories than larger ones. Maybe because smaller ones seemed to be something I could handle, I don’t really know but those were the ones I watched. Don’t get me wrong I was amazed (still am for that matter) every time I saw someone post their crazy burpee challenge videos, or the “I just ran 10 miles, and I feel great”‘s, or their trifecta medal pictures, but it was the small ones that got me. For example, a friend posted “I finally broke down and did it, I joined the gym. Now to figure out my schedule.” That too me was huge, because I know what that is like.

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This is Becca, she is on the same journey, love seeing her progress as well and positive energy!

It is not easy to go home after work, change clothes and go to the gym. It is not easy to NOT order that piece of chocolate pie at the end of a fantastic dinner out. It is not easy to put your tennies on a snowy Sunday and turn on Zumba or Wii Fit, or Just Dance just to be healthier, but I do it because of the people I have behind me. The ones who try to talk louder than that voice in my head telling me I can’t. The ones who, on the course, tell me to step on their shoulders just so I can get up the embankment, even the ones who tell me to go one step further, even when I think I can’t.

Over the course of the past few months I have received private messages or even was tagged in a post where my friends would tell me that they were on their own journey of “becoming better thems”… I smiled, gave them virtual high fives, a “go get’em”, and then went on.  I am sure that part of me not making any more of a fuss about it was because, well, I am dumb and really couldn’t wrap my head around the idea of inspiring anyone else… still can’t for that matter…

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y’all know Angel, she is the foot in my butt that I often need. She reminds me how far I have come, even when I don’t see it myself. Thank you, Ang!

But after several conversations this week I have realized that you can inspire and be inspired by the same person. You may be the reason they go a little harder, and because of them you do one more rep… I am not going to sit here and pretend I anything special, because I am still Lil’ Heather… a whole 5’2″ spunky nerd that (most of you) have known for a while now, but I am trying. I want to be a better me, I need to be a better me, and I continue to see inspiration in my friends and if along the way, my story helps you get off of the couch and come fight the elliptical with me, then great!

I think that is what they call coming full circle, right? Starting at a specific point them coming all the way around to the beginning? I guess the point I am trying to make here is I have been inspired by so many of you, and it makes my heart swell to know that I have given something back.

 

 

 

 

Sometimes I do Feel Like Wonder Woman

11402225_10206564558893291_1871395240376122903_o For as long as I can remember I have been a HUGE Wonder Woman fan. From the Wonder Woman Underoos to the Halloween costumes with the stinky plastic mask that no kid could ever see through. I watched the Lynda Carter Wonder Woman show every time it was on. She was amazing and even as little girl I knew I wanted to be like her. Don’t get me wrong, I loved that she was a princess, but that wasn’t the complete reason for me. She was smart and beautiful and thin and strong as hell. THAT was what I wanted. Being realistic as a 39 year old woman, I know I will never be able to lift a car, or pick up a full grown man with one hand, but I want to be like her. An office worker by day and bad ass by night.

966583_10207913869665217_7665661757943571816_oTonight was one of those nights. Backing up a little, I have been going to Mr T (this is the name I will be referring to my trainer as from here on out) for six months now. I already told you about how I have a way of getting in my own way, or rather staying in my own head, and how going to see him I would get worked up and almost making myself almost sick. Well, after I wrote that blog about figuring out this problem I had, and working through it, I have been able to move past it. Or rather, I continue to work through it.

Mr T told me earlier in the week that when I came in on Friday he was going “put the hurting on”, so I got scared. I felt myself getting queasy… I  even tried to figure out how I was going to get out of it, BUT I DIDN’T! I knew that it was not what Wonder Woman would do, so I went!12006169_10207275713071701_4337993768495653423_n

When I got there he smiled at me, and I knew that I was in trouble. When he smiles at me with the “oh yeah, its go time, Cupcake” look, I knew I was going to suffer, and this work out would be nothing to sneeze at! I didn’t let that get to me, though, I smiled back and played dumb!. He upped the weight, he pushed me harder than he had in the past. **I will say that we had to stop using some of the free weights and kettle bells because my hands and arms were swelling and turning red as they sometimes do…  and when Mr T saw what was going on, he moved me to the machines to give my hands a rest. Anyway I worked my butt off on those machines! At the end of the work out, Mr T smiled at me and said “good job tonight.” THAT WAS WHAT I WAS LOOKING FOR!

I may not be lifting cars or fighting crime, but like Wonder Woman, I showed him I was a strong woman who wasn’t scared to push the limits and fight the battle in front of her. I loved it. I loved how good I felt when I left the gym. I was even smiling – and I very rarely can say that! Not often do I feel this good about myself, but for tonight I will put on my cape, pretend its flapping in the air, and remain #wonderwomanstrong on my journey of #becomingabetterme !!