Wednesday, September 17, 2008

wednesday weigh in

I'm not a very competitive person.

I really don't care what place I finish in my next triathlon, so long as I finish. I'm not at all ashamed to slow down and walk when out for a run, or lag way behind when out on a ride. I very rarely push myself too hard when I'm working out. Sure, my heart rate will go up and I'll break in to a sweat, but I can't stand being uncomfortable for long stretches of time.

I remember going to an aerobics class with one of my friends in high school. Since I had done gymnastics for several years and considered myself rather flexible and coordinated, I thought aerobics would be a breeze.

And the warm up was.

But once they started with the, "And lift. And lift. And lift. And one more time, LIFT. And right and lift. And left and lift. And right and lift. And left and lift. And faster now, right LIFT, left LIFT, right LIFT, left LIFT", I sat down and lifted my foot up and down to the beat of the music.

That marked the end of aerobics for me. Although, in hindsight I wish I had stuck with it, because my friend continued on with the class and she was absolutely cut by the time we graduated. But it seems I always cop out when the going gets tough.

Last week, I went swimming with one of our neighbors, Dawn.

Dawn is in fantastic shape. She rides her bike 25 miles to work several mornings a week. She ran the San Diego Rock-n-Roll marathon last year and has competed in numerous triathlons. She rides with her husband a minimum of 50 miles every weekend, including a trek up a road that is 7-miles long and has a 6% up hill grade. Dawn is always encouraging me to go for walks with her, a jog around the block, a weekend ride, or swim some laps before she leaves for work.

So last week when we went swimming and I noticed that I was slightly ahead of Dawn on the flip turn for my final lap, I discovered a competitive streak I never knew existed. I dug in deep and started to swim as fast as I could - kicking like there was a shark chasing me down. But Dawn, the athletic hard body that she is, started to dig deep too ... because there was no way she was going to let me beat her in the pool.

(I'm absolutely certain that is what she was thinking.)

When we got to the shallow end and I looked out of the corner of my eye and noticed that she had started to catch up and we were almost neck-and-neck, I stood up and RAN the rest of the way to the wall.

And I won.

Although we weren't really racing, it felt so good that I felt compelled to talk smack the rest of the way home. "Yeah. How do you like me NOW? Uh-huh. That's what I THOUGHT."

Today while I was at the gym, I was jamming out to music and I noticed out of the corner of my eye that a person on the bike next to me had a higher RPM than I did. So, I stepped it up a notch. And then, I noticed that they were burning more calories than me. So, I cranked up my resistance. When I started pedaling faster, I noticed they started pedaling faster. And before I knew it, I was racing the person on the stationary bike next to me.

And then, I noticed that he wasn't a day younger than 70.

As I've been working out with consistency, I have noticed that I am getting stronger. I have a little bit more confidence in myself to push a little harder and further than I did before. And it feels really good to push myself and know that I can do it. Because in doing it, I become even stronger so I can do it better the next time.

At the end of October, six weeks from now, I'm going to have another iPod shuffle giveaway. I thought about offering up a new prize, but the fact is - those things are so cool. To own a shuffle is to love a shuffle.

To participate in the giveaway, leave me a comment telling me what you are doing to challenge yourself ... and then, every Wednesday from now until then (10/29), you need to tell me how you are doing towards the accomplishment of your goal. If you have a blog, please leave a link so that I can come by and encourage you. Because in encouraging others >> I am encouraged myself.

My goal is to shave 15 minutes off the completion time of my next triathlon.

And just maybe, I'll be able to beat some of those people in the 60-age range.


  1. What a great idea, I need some encouragement now as I am not doing so well in the sticking with it department. I don't know what happened. I want to exercise daily. I was working out for one hour daily, stopped whatever I was doing from 1-2 everyday. Seems like I have been finding an excuse wherever I can (and there are plenty) not to exercise. So my goal for myself is to get back to exercising for at least one hour a day. Oh and I would still love to win a shuffle but even if I don't and get back on track I will still be the winner. I know you will make it with your goal. You are such an inspiration.

  2. This is fun!

    O-kay. I am participating in a five-mile breast cancer walk at the end of October. I have a very close friend, who at 35 was diagnosed with the disease. She has twin 3 1/2 year old daughters, as well as a 20-month old daughter. It was a shock to us all with no family history. Luckily, she is doing great, but it motivated so many of us in different ways.

    I have decided to turn this walk into a reason to get back in shape and connect with myself again, so I am working out five days a week, alternating between running, swimming or just working on the elliptical.

  3. Okay, here's my story and goal. I have 2 year old triplets. I can't for the life of me figure out how they maintain their energy level all. day. long. My sister is getting marrie din May in a California vineyard and I'm the matron of honor, standing in a line with all of her very sweet and very skinny bridesmaids. I still have my triplet pouch because, frankly, I'm tired and the thought of exercising after maintaining the kids, laundry, cleaning the house, making dinners and working my 3 part time jobs, makes me even more tired. BUT, I want this pouch gone by the wedding, so my plan is to wake up at my normal 6am, put on some exercise clothes and running shoes and go for a run before the kids wake up at 7. I get up early for my alone time but I could exercise instead of drinking coffee and sitting in front of the computer.

    I played tennis in college and used to run a couple miles every day. I was in great shape until I got pregnant. I know I can get back into shape and this is the time. I don't want to look pregnant at my sister's wedding.

    So, count me in. I have a blog, but haven't updated it in a while. It is:

    Thanks for the motivation Jen!

  4. What am I doing to challenge myself? I made a goal to update my blog daily with my food choices/exercise/thoughts. I also created a weight loss goal for myself and am weighing weekly.
    Exercise is not really a problem for me. It's the food that's the challenge!

  5. I need this. A little push. some motivation!!

    My hubbie and I have been talking about finding a 5K (starting small) and signing up. So my goal is to find a 5K (for sometime maybe in November). Then in the next 2 months find a way to run/walk at least 3-4 days a week.

    Surely if you can find the time to train for a triathlon with 4 children, I can do it with 2!

    Thank you for your inspiration!!

  6. Hey Jen ~

    I really hate to "exercise" but really need to shape up to have more energy for my family (dh & 4yro), business, & life! I suffer from seasonal depression & it's hard for me living in Alaska to get outside in the winter to exercise ~ I just want to stay in bed!

    I started taking tap dancing lessons this past summer when I enrolled my son & now I love it! I'm on my second session & I'm hoofing fool! It's a blast & such great exercise! Plus my son & I dance together :)

    I really need that ipod shuffle so I can plug in and shuffle around outside of my lessons, lose weight, & feel healthier & happier!

    I don't have a blog but I do have a web site for my art. Check it out at ~

    Thanks for the inspirational post! Tam

  7. I LOVE working out with friends. It builds good relations! I have a small group that meets each Sat. and other times if the stars align for everyone.
    My goal: End of September I'm going to try to RUN an entire 5k!!! (I hope) Been in a few and always have to stop and walk. (very frustrating) As of right now I'm "running" a solid 3 miles! Yippee! Then I will move up to a 10k! Perhaps even a triatholon. (who knows) Although, my "run" is everyone else's "walk".I'm a little s-l-o-w and I can't figure out why I'm not loosing. (COuld it be the chocolate covered almonds I crave after I'm done w/my workout? Or the icecream that mysteriously disappears in the freezer. (Your right. I don't think so either)

    Really enjoy the motivation from the you and the people from your blog - don't need the ipod - still have one that hasn't been programed. (hint.hint) ;-)
    Keep up the good work. Love, Marg

  8. My friend and I down the street just starting meeting at the local YMCA at 5:45 am (yes, am!) twice a week. I have an ipod, but she doesn't so I'm entering on her behalf (because she doesn't read your blog, at least that I know of, although I've told her she really should!). My friend is a new mom to a beautiful 6 week old son. She also has a 2 year old daughter. My friend is the one who asked ME if I wanted to go and workout. She is amazing. She also gets dressed AT the Y and goes straight to work teaching 8th graders proper English. I, on the other hand, go back home and lay in my warm bed for at least 30 minutes! I think my friend is amazing and I would LOVE for her to have an ipod for the Y. Plus, that way I wouldn't feel so guilty about wearing's a win-win! Thanks, Jen - you rule!!
    ps. And I might mention that there is already frost on the ground here in upstate NY and it's mighty cold and dark at 5:45 am...just another reason my friend rocks!

  9. my triplets just turned one, and i still have a good forty pounds to drop and am very frustrated with this, so...i am in.

    my goals are to:
    walk my babies an hour five days a week
    only eat sugar/dessert once a week

    good luck to you and everyone else, katie

  10. Ah man.... another giveaway?

    And I can't participate because, I just had surgery on my leg. Uhg.

    Well good luck everyone.



  11. I am working towards losing 20 lbs. I've already lost 10, so I am on my way.

  12. Hello again...

    My goal is to actually get of my lazy bum and DO the 5K I'm doing in November (found here). And then, do one in December for a maybe faster time.

    I will get to start again Monday. If I'd quit doing stupid things like jumping on a bad ankle, I'd be awesome. And? I need the help being motivated. Because I love my bed.

  13. What a great idea! Now that I completed my 10k, I really want to stick to running. I'm not sure how I'm going to do it. But I'm determined. I no longer have help during the day, so it'll be me and the trips or me and the trips plus Ty. I'm nervous. But, I'm determined. The problem is, I don't have a goal. 3 days a week. least 3 miles. That's my goal. Really, it should be 4, but I don't want to fail before I start!

    Thanks for the inspiration. And encouragement.

    One more goal: 6 miles at least 1x/week.

  14. Well, in early April of this year, I had surgery. Nothing terribly major, but after two weeks of bed-rest-recovery, I was in terrible shape.

    Actually, that's pretty misleading of me. Let me try again.

    Several years ago, I weighed 260 lbs. I worked my butt off (literally) and got myself down to just under 200 lbs. And then I got married and went on my honeymoon and gained 10 lbs. Which would have been bad enough, except that I came back from my honeymoon assured that I would drop the weight just as I had the first time. But I never did. In fact, I gained another 15, just through laziness. Throughout that time, I would, on occasion, take a run. I ran sloppy, and only for a few minutes at a time, and just generally didn't commit myself.

    So, post-surgery, I really needed a way to get my strength back up. I had quit smoking in February, but I've always had exercise-induced asthma, regardless. Oh, and allergies bad enough to choke me. And I live in a high-humidity area in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains. So, what better to do than to run, right? Yeah. Smart. Really, really smart. But, I can be pretty determined sometimes.

    I started a Couch to 5k program as soon as I was cleared to exercise (mid-May). After a few false starts, I started to fall in to a rhythm that seemed to work. My goal was to be able to run a 10k at the end of November.

    Unfortunately, my lungs have had a very different plan.

    I'm struggling, but I'm a hair away from being able to run for 20 minutes uninterrupted. It has taken me 4 months to (almost) complete a 2 month program. It's frustrating because my body is ready, willing, eager, but my lungs aren't having it. They just slam shut at a certain point, medicated or not. I don't know whether I'll be able to do that 10k in November.

    But what I will be attempting, for the first time in my life, is to complete a 5k race in mid-October.

    I'm going to do it. I really am.

    So far, I really haven't lost that much weight (about 14 lbs, which isn't much for 4 months of training, I think), but to be honest, since finding out how awesome it feels to complete that next more stringent set of intervals, that blissful feeling that happens once in a rare while that leaves you feeling like you can run forever? Well, I care far less about how much I weigh, and I really dig the fact that my legs look incredible, and my whole body just feels like it works better. My lungs still suck, and will for a while (esp. with the vicious cold I've got going right now...), but bit by bit, I'm seeing improvement. And that is such a great feeling.

    So, sorry for the long answer, but my goal (short term) is to complete the 5k, walking for no more than 25% of it. Long term, my goal is to complete another in November (maaaybe the 10k). And another in December, and January, etc., etc. And I like the idea of checking in here once a week, even if we are virtual strangers (I've followed your blog for a while via the IF community, and have commented once or twice before).

    What a great idea! I'm looking forward to this!

  15. Okay, I am starting to get saggy from not teaching or taking yoga since Charley was born! Here comes a full hour Power Flow once a week. I do love feeling strong and do need to get back on track. I'm going to start my goal small so that I have some chance of being successful.

  16. My husband and I are going to run in the Marine Mud Run here in DFW ( I've done it before, but that was pre-marriage, and pre-baby. So I'm lifting weights again, and running three mornings out of the week. Encouragement is nice, we definitely need it. Did I mention that we are both full time students, he is studying for his LSAT, he works full-time, and I'm a happy stay-at-home mom with too much homework and too little time to play with my 15 months old. We're also trying to conceive again, so we've got that to throw into the mix, too! But that's our goal - run the Marine Mud Run and do it in under three hours! Wish us luck!

  17. I am trying to lose weight that I gained through major overeating last year. I have the best motivation- my boyfriend weighs about thirty pounds less than I do. I am eating as healthily as I can in a dorm room, and I work out at least twice a week. I would do more if my class schedule didn't leave me exhausted all the time on weekdays. Luckily my boyfriend is super supportive!

  18. Oh, and my neglected blog-

  19. I am coming on board waaaayyyyy late to this. So feel free to ignore me for the draw.

    The short version of my story is: I am 36. Widowed. Mother of 3 year old G/B twins. Basically been guilty of wallowing in misery for the last 14+ months. Following the death of my DH, I moved my little family to Ontario (not too far from where you were a couple of months ago).

    I have now started jogging again (used to run in my early 20's) and purchased a treadmill.

    My goal is to run a half marathon in the spring. I am on a schedule working up to it and I have been on track time and distance wise for the last 2 weeks. (The schedule is for 24 weeks).

    What I would REALLY love, is your playlist for your shuffle. I have a $10 MP3 player, but I put a bunch of not-so-motivational country songs on it.....

    Congrats on your accomplishment and keep up the good work!