Sep 26, 2013

Learning to Push Through.

The past few weeks I have been travelling for some workshops with my work teams.  A week in Mexico, a day in our North facility.  Flights and drives along with late nights / long days.  The workshops have been all in all very well executed, with some of the biggest take-a-ways for me being those that I can incorporate into my personal life, not just professional life.  They also showed me that I am able to push through and get it done.  This was not always the case.

We spoke a lot about value of a team, values of self as well as the core values that make up our team and company.  Sometimes taking the time to put words down on paper helps identify the path we wish to take. We may think we are on the right track, or that we know what we hold dearest, however if you reflect on the words that you envision shaping yourself and your values you may see a different picture.

For instance, I used to sit on the couch and watch workout videos.  Yes.  You read that correctly.  I would sit on my couch and watch workout videos in hopes of getting the motivation to actually do the workout.  I would occasionally start with the warm up, but then I would be so out of breath or so sweaty that I would just give up. 

It is too hard!

I would say to myself as I slumped on the couch watching those über fit people on the screen breeze through the routines with ease.

They are fit, I am so out of shape - I cannot do this!

I would say to myself as I grabbed the bag of cheesy-poofs or a candy bar and unwrapped it admiring the workout clothing and choreography of the exercisers on screen wishing that I had that body.

They are so lucky to have been born that fit! 

I would think while munching away like a couch potato.  



However, everyday I would put in that DVD and watch the video.   In my head I thought that I wanted to get fit, I thought that I was just easing into the workouts and was watching to gleam what was coming before me.  In reality I was just lazy.

If I had written down the words that made up my values, then I would have seen that what I wanted and what I was doing to myself were two totally different things.  The workouts were not too hard and the instructors were not too fit. I was getting out of my comfort zone and the second that happened I freaked out. 

Some values that I hold dear to myself both professionally and personally:

Fidelity
Strength
Determination
Empathy
Support
Recognition
Achievement
Perseverance


Back then I was not working towards or possessing any of these values;  I was fostering a false me.   I am going to take some time in teh next few weeks and realy sculpt out the core values that have the most meaning to me in my life and set upon a path of working on supporting them in everything that I do.  I think that this is a good exercise to get back on track or to use as a sanity check - am I really on the right path for me?


I have come a long way since the days of cheesecake induced food comas and nightly viewing of exercise videos.  I now know that I can push through the discomfort.  That by pushing through means that there is a point on the other side where I will emerge, and while not easy the discomfort becomes tolerable again.

Fast forward many years,and you will see me sitting on a plane to Mexico a few weeks out from a half iron race.  On this plane I am eating healthy snacks that I brought for myself - a protein bar, a dried fruit "roll-up"- reading magazines and planning out my week's training while on the road.  In the airports you see me gravitate towards the customizable food stations - the Chipotle, Q-Doba, etc. varieties - ordering brown rice with pinto beans, covered in a mountain of grilled peppers, onions and lettuce, topped off with some yummy hot salsa.   You see me at the hotel going to bed, setting my alarm for a 5am wake up even after travelling for over 12 hours.  You see me waking up at the right time, putting on my workout clothes and trudging around trying to break free from my sleepy haze. You see me struggling in the first moments of being awake and thinking to myself - am I really doing this?  The bed is right there.  I am tired and sleepy... but I can push through.  I know myself too well by now.  If I don't do it now, there is no later.  Later never comes.

You see me in long hours of workshops, followed by long nights at group dinners.  You see me having an adult beverage or two, but also drinking lots of fresh bottled water and eating vegetables and salsas.  You see me skip dessert which is unheard of for me - but then snack away during the workshop which is much more par for the course.  You see me wake up morning after morning, running mile after mile all while maintaining a happy attitude and enjoying the trip to Mexico.

While those are the details, what you are actually seeing is me pushing through discomfort and attitude, and emerging on the other side better for it

The biggest take away from the workshops is that we (I) do not give as much as we (I) can professionally and in personal interests.  There is always another degree, another inch that we can go in some facet of our life.  Not every facet nor all at once/all the time; in one facet we can dig a little deeper and push through when needed.



I am not the picture of perfection in health and fitness.  I am learning much like we all are.  There are deep ingrained habits and reactions that I am working to overcome and to change and pushing through mental barriers is the first step.   If you find yourself quitting just because you are uncomfortable with the effort - be it anxiety, fear, increased heart rate, the general feeling of discomfort - do not quit.  Do not rob yourself of the potential to feel something great.  Push through the haze and see what is on the other side. 

I promise you that once you push through it gets a little less scary each time.  While the haze of getting out of the comfort zone never goes away you can make it smaller so that each time you face it you are more confident in survival and reward.  That leads to motivation and momentum.   

Are you willing to push through something today to see what is on the other side? 

I know that I am, and while I am starting over on some things I am ready to push through the tough few months of getting back into a groove.


And with that, a quick update on how my training has been going.  I have been hitting the bike on either my trainer or out on the trails the past few weeks when I am at home and then making good use of the treadmills when I am not at home.  I have been getting in the time, but really struggling to hit my prescribed paces and or power targets.  This is starting to bother me, but I know that in time it will come as long as I push through it every day.   This week I have been good about getting in my bike and runs, however the pool remains as an area of improvement.  I know what I need to do and that is my goal for next week.

I will push through the anxiety of being bored in the pool and get in all of my swim workouts next week.   Time to channel my inner goldfish. 

Looking ahead for the rest of this week I have my long run tonight (2 hours!) and then my Race Rehearsal swim, bike, and 1 hour race-paced run.  Sunday is an off day. 
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