Sunday, May 9, 2010

Stubborn is Good

It is finished.

All the training, the stressing, the careful time management, the body break-down, the 2-a-days...and the endorphins, the rush, the accomplishment, the reward of crossing the finish line...over.

How did it go? How was it? I was asked these questions numerous times over this past week as I've recovered, both physically and mentally, from finishing the Ironman in St. George on May 1. I CAN say that I am glad I did the race; I cannot say, however, exactly how it went. Because I checked out. For the most part. Here is what I remember:

Enter the pre-dawn chill: me, armed with my yam and bag of gear (wetsuit, water, food, caps-2 for the cooooold water-, goggles, and BodyGlide), I boarded the bus to the start of the swim. I know I am going to meet 54 degree water; a deep-water, mass start; hoards of hopped-up triathletes; and long porta-potty lines. Yet, I am strangely happy and excited. The race had been lurking in the back of my mind for the entire year that had passed since I had signed up, not to mention the months of training my body and mind.

The bus ride was strange: every single seat had two people in it--except mine. No one sat next to me. I looked out the window at the dark sky as I ate my salted, buttered yam in near silence. The athletes around me zoned out, slept, meditated, or whatever they did for the 25-minute ride up to the reservoir. I kept my poker face on as my nerves keyed way up to redline.

Off the bus, to the bikes: my back tire needed air, I needed to use the porta-potty, I felt obligated to eat my yam, though I had no appetite whatsoever, and I couldn't find anyone I knew. My hubs finally found me and noted my look of focus-panic; he filed that one away for future reference. When I finally got all my stuff together, my body sausaged into my wetsuit, my two caps on, and my goggles situated, it was time to get into the water and wade/swim out to the start line.

6:58 a.m. and I suddenly noticed my safe bubble of two or three feet of swim space had been reduced to two inches. I looked around to exit right to a less crowded area, and BOOOOM! The starting cannon went off. Have you ever seen carp spawning? Flop, flop, slap, slap!? Well, that is what a deep-water, mass swim start of 2,000 amped-up, freezing athletes looks like. It was a collective thought of: "The sooner we start swimming, the sooner we can get out of this water!" Off we went.

All was well--if you consider mass chaos "well." A few minutes into it, I got a sharp whack to the head. 'No biggie,' thought I, 'I've been smacked before.' But then, it happened: one second I am swimming, the next, I was completely underneath another swimmer. 'Ah, roll out, roll out!' Water polo training kicked in, and I attempted an evasive maneuver. Alas, the swimmer stopped and began to tread water--with me underneath his (her?) foot. I was stuck! I could not get away for a couple of seconds. I looked up from 3 feet or so underwater and saw the water churning, the swimmers leaving me. And I panicked.

I have never panicked in the water. Ever. Yet, there I was, head barely breaking the surface, dry-heaving, hyperventilating, wild-eyed: a full-blown panic attack. I am a SWIMMER!! Swimmers do NOT panic in the water!! I very, very nearly called for a kayak rescue...and then I had a coherent thought. It went like this: "Really? REALLY??? You are going to quit NOW?? Seriously. You're not 10 minutes into this pinnacle event of physical and mental endurance, and you give it a measly ten minutes?!?! That is totally lame." Well, ok, then. I guessed the sooner I started swimming, the closer I'd be to the finish line. I figured I had about 2 miles to go. So, I swam. And swam. And swam.

When I got out, I was cold, incoherent, confused, and...did I mention cold? It took me a full 20 minutes to realize what I needed to do next and then actually do it (whereupon my hubs took it upon himself to worry about me; his two paramedic friends assuring him that I "did not look good at all.") I finally emerged from the transition tent, shivering, bike-gear-clad, confused; yet I managed to get on the bike and pedal. With teeth chattering, goosebumps an inch high, and food in my pocket, I began the ride.

For most of the next eight (yes, that says 8) hours, I checked out. I pedaled, ate, pedaled, peed, pedaled...well, you get the picture. I thought about everything and nothing. I noticed my surroundings, yet I was strangely detached. My body registered its complaints: stretch out back, use potty, get bum off seat (please! just for a minute!), put more sunscreen on: and still I pedaled. I saw the hubs, the children, and some good friends, and pedaled. One more turn of the crank was one closer to the finish line.

At nearly 5 o'clock in the afternoon, I peeled myself off of my bike. My bum was defeated after those 112 miles. A lovely volunteer took my bike, another helped me balance so I could get those dang bike shoes off (note: right foot asleep; tread lightly!), a third handed me the most clear, cold drink of water I have ever had. I got my oh-so-comfy running shorts on (good-bye bike shorts waistband!), laced up my running shoes, got some of those fabulous volunteers to put more sunscreen on, smooched the hubs, and I was off. Only (!) the marathon was left.

Running felt good. Oh, so good! I took some time to talk to my right foot (wake up! wake up! you have a job to do now! hold me up!!) and went off up the hill. I truly believe that the race organizers went out of their way to find every blinkin' hill in the area and then make sure our course covered them ALL as many times as possible! I believe they were trying to make us call, "Uncle, uncle! Ok! I give!" But, haha, it didn't work. I ran.

And ran. And, yes, you've guessed it: I ran. I ran up, I ran down. I was stinky, sweaty, sunburnt, and hungry for food that I could sit down and eat. I needed to fix my sock, but I knew that if I stopped to fix it--which would require sitting down--I may not have gotten up. Sitting sounded so NICE. (just not on a bike seat...) I did not sit. I ran. The sun went down; I ran. A hill: I ran. Another hill: still running. Took in bananas, chicken broth, water, larabars, about 1/8 of a gu, (yah, spit THAT out!); rinse and repeat. It got dark, so I turned on my bum light.

The last 6 miles: I got excited! Last round! Horse to the barn! I hit the last big uphill; up and over--ah, I can see the town! I can hear the finish line! They're still cheering! Oh, hurry, hurry! I checked back in. I felt the breeze, ran by the walkers, noticed the night sky (violet), and smiled.

10 o'clock. Bedtime. After 15 hours (and 3 minutes), I crossed the finish line intact. My mental state was alert; my body functioning. People cheered; I saw a sign with MY name on it. I heard the announcer's voice over the PA system: "Angie Goodwin, YOU are an IRONMAN!!!"

Yes. Yes, I am.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Personal Victories

AH, personal victories. What are those? I think they occur when we accomplish something that has been hanging over our head for some time, and one day: voila! Victory!

A few have come my way recently. Some I have worked for; some just seemed to "occur."

*a nagging ache around Faith's retainer seemed to be linked with careful toothbrushing-gone!
*my minivan has miraculously disappeared! (bon voyage, van!) -it has been replaced with a cute sort-of-little suv that has amazing air conditioning!
*hubs has found a great source of employment that he believes in enough to work for someone else -amazing!
*we have plans to go out of town for Spring Break!! yay! to a green, lovely place, no less :)
*I hit a PR on my 1/2 marathon time that has been eluding me for a few races now-a 1:45, which put me in the top 10% of my age group--this leads to the fact that:
*I am no longer a "mid-packer"--the bane of my running existence! haha! this is due to:
*my training for the race in a completely different way: I followed the CrossFit Endurance approach; this translates to training in 1/3 of my previous training time!
*Noah's 'tween angst seems to be on hold with the introduction to a (very carefully monitored) FB account-Mr. Happy is so entertained by playing with the tweaky camera on my laptop! He believes he is a very funny guy!
*I was finally able to string 5 pull-ups together in a workout the other day--nice! (I could do them before, just not in a row. I would have to drop off the bar every 2 or 3 before this.)

Why are these PERSONAL victories? Because they probably don't mean anything to anyone but ME. I feel great! :)

(now if I could just remember everyone's birthdays on their proper days, THAT would be awesome! [sorry, Cyn!])

Sunday, March 7, 2010

And the Winner Is...

Yah, I won. I won the lean-out challenge our CrossFit gym held. I went ahead and went full-boar and lost the most body fat percentage of the people who participated in the challenge (there were around 25). I am actually surprised that I won because it didn't feel like the program required as much mental energy to lean out as it has in the past. I not only lost more % than all the women, but all the men as well. Originally, there was to be one grand prize winner, (which would been me, as I mentioned), but the trainers decided to have a men's winner as well as a women's. This sounds fair and good, right? Sure, until I found out that instead of the $210 that I won (hee hee, yippee!), I would have gotten about $450!!!!!

This sounds extremely self-serving, I know. After a slight twinge of "dang it!" I realized that I gained way more than $210. Like:
*body fat %: started @ 20.1, ended at 12.8 (holy cow, that is what I was in HIGH SCHOOL!)
*weight: before: 145.4; after: 137
*deadlift max: before: 205 lbs; after: 230 lbs.
*"Fran" time: before: 12:40; after: 10:23 ("Fran" is a CrossFit benchmark workout that consists of 21-15-9 reps of pull-ups and 65# thrusters, all done in the rep sequence as fast as possible; I still have a ways to go: one of our women trainers has a sub-4 minute time!!)
*diet: before: whatever, mostly clean eating; after/during/now: no grains, dairy, or sugar (except for special occasions, like the trifle birthday treat I made for our son Adam: yum!)
*mental toughness: before: ok, can do this; after: BRING IT ON, GRANDPA!!!!
*Dave lost several percentage points in body fat as well and eats cleaner than I do (read: he did not take a single indulgence meal on the 7-week challenge!!)
*my children eat more healthily as well, and: they LIKE it!
*my attitude towards food is much more balanced :)
*my training, even doubled for my preparation for the Ironman, feels doable. (I know, weird.)

These are my before and after pictures. I honestly thought I would "bulk up" doing something like this, but that hasn't been the case. Whew! So, with the money I won, I paid for my indoor bike trainer and intend to buy some pants that fit. I know my pants look funny all baggy, because, as I was getting ready for work the other day, Faith said, "Mom, are those Daddy's pants??" haha, that was a clue phone!

Anyway, yay for me. Let's see what else happens. I am hoping for survival of the Ironman next! Only 7 weeks to race day! ACK!!!

Friday, January 22, 2010

On My Way

I am nearly 4 weeks into this lean-out challenge and for the most part, it is going well. I have dropped 6.5 pounds and, while my main goal is not to lose weight, I am not minding it a bit. My main goal is to eat clean and be able to double-up on my training while keeping my family intact, my love life alive, my job secure, and my body injury-free. It's going well! Ironman, here I come!

*husband likes me, even though I am busy, busy!
*kids are up-to-date with their schoolwork (not a small thing)
*got the fastest time for the day in a CrossFit workout (first time EVER!! including the guys' times!!)
*did not falter even once on my eating goals (clean, clean, clean!)
*lesson plans turned in on time w/tests written
*got my bike trainer, got it set up, and rode it all in one evening!!
*ran hills at a 7% grade (I thought I was going to die.)
*went snowboarding with my fantastic nephew and didn't hurt myself!
*got more than 6 hours of sleep 6 out of 7 days (that is amazing for me)
*pants are too big

*need to return phone calls
*paid one bill late :(
*got a dressing down by my boss (it's all good)
*spaced off a meeting about a relay I am running in June
*son wore a dirty uniform shirt because I have been behind on laundry
*have a pile of papers to grade that is 2 inches thick
*pants are too big

I am enjoying the process of living and am looking forward to what each day brings. Tomorrow, I hope it is sleeping past 7 a.m. Happy weekend!

ps: burpees, my fave thing!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Rain Has Gone

It is now Day 7 of the leaning challenge. I feel pretty good and am eating dead-on, with one small exception. Yesterday, I participated in a CrossFit competition where participants completed three workouts, spaced and hour or two apart, over the course of 6 hours or so. I was going to say, over the course of the day, but with my first one at 10:40 a.m., and my last workout at 2:30, it wasn't all day. Crazy.

The workouts included running, rowing, lifting stuff (like 75 lb. barbells) as often as you can for 90 second intervals, jumping on a box (24" high), more running, throwing a 14-lb medicine ball 8 1/2 feet up to a target on a wall (called 'wall balls'), swinging 35lb. kettlebells (this is a roundish-shaped weight with a handle on the top for swinging purposes), oh, and walking lunges for 50 meters, while holding a 25-lb plate over one's head. Then, more makes me tired all over again just typing the exercises! I didn't come in last place, which was my goal, and I had a great time hanging out with my hubby and my fellow gym buddies.

Usually, after a heavy competition (triathlon, marathon, whatever), I reward myself with relaxation and FOOD! As I am trying to lean out, indulging in the food thing that usually includes a gooey ice cream treat wasn't an option. So I got a frozen yogurt from our local Red Mango and it was heavenly! The yogurt itself is frozen tart yogurt with the live cultures and non-refined sugar. Topping options include fruit, nuts, granola, some sweet cereals, coconut, and mochi. My flavor of choice last night: pumpkin spice with sliced almonds. Eating clean sure has changed my taste buds! It was plenty sweet and creamy!

Do these things really matter in life? Is all this CrossFitting and eating a particular way really something I need to worry about? Well, yes: it keeps me fit and strong and, I may add, keeps a certain level of sanity going in my life. Added to that are those elements of life that are key: my relationships with my husband and children, my connectedness to God, and finding ways to reasonably put all these things in order on a daily basis. Oh yeah, and I have a job too. Therefore, my focus is this: balancing priorities + keeping sanity = joy, fulfillment, and survival!

As my body leans out, I feel my focus coming into line as well. It is as if I needed to clean out the sugar-clutter of my brain to see what's going on. I can see clearly now... :)

ps. This is a picture of me & my sweet grandbaby, Lily. She was born on September 10, 2009!

Monday, January 4, 2010

If You've Got Time to Lean, You've Got Time to Clean!

The title of this post is actually a catch-phrase from the restaurant business, meaning: "You'd better not just be standing there while you're on the clock!" Which is how I feel about most things. If I'm just standing there, I may get run over and, well, life will just pass me by. It doesn't need me. But I need it!

It is Day One of the "Get Lean Challenge" our CrossFit gym is promoting. The Challenge consists of eating whole, real foods that are as close to their natural state as possible, including nuts, seeds, veggies, fruits, raw dairy products, good fats, and lean meats & proteins. If I could hunt and gather my food, so much the better. I also need to go to CrossFit regularly (duh), sleep as much as possible, and drink plenty of water. Doesn't this sound like a good idea, regardless? Shouldn't we all do this anyway?

I believe so. If I lived on a farm and grew all my own stuff, baled hay, raised animals, and did my own farm chores, I wouldn't feel like I need CrossFit either. The result of living an urban life is that I have to find ways to stay "in shape," which my ancestors would find baffling. My food choices as of late would cause these same ancestors to cringe. I feel the need to take action because I'm convinced that at some point, I am going to have to rely on myself, my family, and our strength and skills to survive. So I need to get to it.

Ok, the soap box is over. Wish me luck on the Challenge! Actually, send me energy, because that is what I am usually lacking! haha!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Work Is Cut Out

I have decided that I need a farm. I need to grow stuff. I'd like to raise animals. I keep dreaming of green places. Is the Utah winter getting to me? Perhaps, yet I'd like to think of this thought process as a clue phone to finding a balance between work and play. 

R-r-r-r-i-ing! R-r-r-r-i-ing! (says the clue phone)

"Hello?" I answer.

"Yes, this is your life calling. Stop running in circles and do something. Find a patch of earth and grow stuff. Bring your family to green pastures."

"Uhm, ok. Let me figure this out. Give me a little time."

"Yah. Don't take too long! Your children are growing and they need this." (clue phone rings off)
Can this bring sustenance and fulfillment in a worldy sense, yet in a spiritual sense as well? I'm looking into it...wish me luck. I've got a lot to do.