Monday, January 31, 2011

Buck up Buttercup

I hope that all of you reading are sore and gushing with pride from all the hard work that you have put into your fitness goals so far this year- the turn of 2011 was just what you needed to get your bum into gear and get to WORK- whether it's losing weight, getting healthy, or striving for an athletic goal.

This month has been a failure for me- the "opposite" effect of a New Years resolution.  My body has been in "slug-mode" for so long, and perhaps the daunting task ahead scared me off; I have a very important athletic goal this year: A time goal, a personal best, at my "A" race in November this year.  I want this goal SO BAD, I've dreamed of it for so long.  I have also decided that once I achieve this goal, it will be time to turn my attention to a different plan I have for life... so  I've really put the pressure on this year.

I put all the ducks in a row- I have access to all the fitness equipment I need (AWESOME new Kestrel bike, computrainer at home, treadmill at work, several swimming pools in town), I have a TEAM to motivate me  and GREAT sponsors (see left side of blog!) to help me along the way, and I'm even working with an AMAZING coach who can GET me to where I want to go.

All I have to do is put one foot in front of the other, and GET the training done.  simple as that.  But I'm racking my brain and soul as to WHY I can't get it done.

I've searched my soul:  Is this really what I want?  If it seems like such a chore, why am I doing it?...good question.  You know what, it IS what I want.  If I do NOT accomplish this goal, I will regret not doing the work for it for the rest of my life.  I also am reminded of some great workouts, races, travel, and PEOPLE (aka my husband and friends) that triathlon has brought into my life, and I know that I'm just going through a phase right now.

As weird as this sounds, I feel like sometimes I skip workouts because they are selfish, and that I need to be spending that time doing other things that are "more productive", like work.  I need to get out of this mindset, and take my workouts just as seriously as my day-job:  I will be more energized, happy, and productive!  Also, my workouts and my goal isn't just for me, it's for the people that love and support me, and who the next "life plan" might affect :)

I have read some great blogs recently on women who, like me, are struggling to balance it all- but they are TOUGH, FAST women who GET IT DONE.  Check out these AWESOME posts by super mom/athlete/coach Jen Harrison (my coach!), another TOUGH athlete/coach/new mom Elizabeth Waterstraat, and my Trakkers teammate Megan Killian.  I know that everyone has a tough schedule, whether it be work, activities, kids, etc.- I am having a hard time adjusting to mine (I'm still a newbie at this "real-world" thing)

 I am very lucky to have a great job and work with some awesome people - I teach classes (3 anatomy labs, 1 family health and wellness, 1 contemporary health issues) part-time at a university in exercise-health related fields (how cool is that?).   I also work part time in the exercise physiology lab-DREAM JOB!  Every semester I've worked there the lab has gotten busier with clients coming in for fitness testing (bodpod, resting and exercise metabolism, sensewear armband analysis, VO2max) AND with students doing their internships under my supervision AND students/faculty doing some really cool research!  I LOVE working in the lab, and I hope that it can eventually become "full-time".  It's a busy but fun schedule!

Needless to say, it's hard to fit in workouts, especially when I'm on-the-go all day either teaching or with clients so by the time I get caught up with emails, phone calls, reports, lesson-planning, grading, it's 7-8PM.  And it's REAALLY hard for me to work out after 8PM.  Even harder to get up at 5AM.

On top of that, my husband just deployed (1-year tour) and there are a few other major issues going on with loved ones, and I am very emotionally drained.  Add on the stresses of daily living - my house, my dog, bills, etc. ....and you have one tired, stressed-out girl.

Buck up buttercup.  THIS is the real rodeo- get some skills and HANG ON!  I will LEARN how to play this game, or die trying ;)

January, I learned what I was dealing with.  I tested the ride out, and I got thrown off, again and again.  Many times I didn't even get on (excuses).  But February, I know what's coming.  I KNOW the tired, drained, unmotivated, so-easy-to-bring-in-an-excuse feeling, and I will FIGHT it.  I don't expect to "win" this month, but hopefully I'll learn a few tips and tricks to stay in the saddle.

EVERYONE has good, legitimate excuses to not put in the work (miss workouts) to reach their goal.  Even me.  But please, don't tell me that it's "OK"... it will NOT be okay if I miss my goal by :02 because I didn't put the WORK in.  In my race, no one will care about or "give me a break" due my work schedule, my personal life, my I need to GET IT DONE.

My next move:
-Time Management: Only work until 5:45PM.  This works out well, since "doggie day-care" closes at 6PM.  I may have to be more strict with client scheduling to do this, I may have to work more weekend hours, but it will be worth it!  After that, straight to workout by 7PM- NO BREAK, otherwise I'm done.  Any additional work that HAS to be done can be completed later at night.
-Get. my. butt. out. of. bed.  Life is better after a cup of coffee anyway.  Don't think, just do. caffeine and workout.
-Prioritizing at work: What HAS to be done vs. What could be be done tomorrow.  I try to do everything at once, all in a day.  I will delegate responsibilities when I can (I am lucky enough to work with an amazing graduate assistant!!)
- Get as much lesson-planning done on the weekends as I can, as least the next week's worth.
- I will "dedicate" each workout to a special person in my life...then my workouts REALLY won't seem selfish~ I can't let my people down :)  Let me know what kind of workout you want me to dedicate to YOU this month!

What tips do you have for fitting workouts in, and getting the motivation to do so, on a busy schedule?

I'm in for a wild ride :)


Anonymous said...

Laura, it sounds like you're dealing with SAD (seasonal affected disorder), it's easy to get down this time of the year, but as you said...."Buck Up Buttercup!" Soon we'll be riding outside, enjoying the sunshine, cursing the wind, etc. Relax a bit, the good stuff is just around the corner.....Mick

Meredith said...

I'm right there with you sister, holding your hand.

Kelly said...

I love the ways you are going to get yourself motivated to get the work done...ESP. the one about dedicating each workout to someone you love. It sounds like scheduling is huge for you. Put your workouts in your calendar just like you would a client and then you won't schedule things over them. You'll get there, I'm sure!!

Kiersten said...

You have been on my mind a lot lately. Your teammates are like are stuck with us now, and we love you. Don't hesitate to call. Your plan for making it all work is awesome. I am confident you will meet your goal.

Megan said...

"As weird as this sounds, I feel like sometimes I skip workouts because they are selfish, and that I need to be spending that doing other things that "more productive", like work." -- I totally get that.

Good luck, girlie. We should go back and forth through this process. My boyfriend, although not deployed (so I don't have that side of the stress equation) is not in the same time zone as me, so maybe we can help each other when our emotional threshold is at its tipping point.

kati said...

Remember to give yourself a break. This year is going to be hard, lean on your friends and teammates : )
I had to resort to giving myself gold stars on the calendar for every week of hitting my workouts! Silly but it works!!

MJ said...

I go through this EVERY YEAR. It's hard at first, but you'll start to recognize it and I agree with Kati - give yourself a break. You will make it work.

Anonymous said...

I went through this the first couple of years of my marriage. It was really tough because I wanted to spend as much time with my husband because we were away at work and the night time was our time. After a really rough year I realized that I was extremely unhappy doing this and no one else was stopping their bus to do the same thing. And made it an important aspect of my life while still staying grounded (life does get in the way occationally). Even if there are clothes to be washed and house to be picked up I just do what makes me happy before those tasks and then it might be pushed back but it eventually gets done (when I need undies :-) ) Keep your chin up and find that balance. It will come... AND remember YOU ARE NOT SELFISH

Jeff - DangleTheCarrot said...

Good for you to put it all in perspective and have a plan. This is a tough time of the year to get stuff done, especially training!

Colleen said...

I definitely won't say "it's okay" because I know what you are going through... but I will say you aren't alone and if there's anything I can do to help you - be it just having someone to talk to, let me know! You sound like you have a million things on your plate, but I see your drive shining through too!

Mike said...

This off season I made the switch to low volume/high intensity training and it's really helped my winter motivation. My workouts are brutally hard, but at least they're short. I can fit my life and family obligations around them and I'm getting way fast in the process. Not saying that that's the problem...but grinding out hours on the treadmill and trainer is hard on anyone. I'm down from 16 hours/week last year to 8/week this year. It's amazing how free I feel...and there is plenty of time to build long when it's warm out!

Oh yeah, and you have to take care of yourself if you're going to take care of everyone else. At least that's what I keep telling myself...easy to say, hard to do.

Best of luck.

Jennifer Harrison said...

You know I have given you my thoughts, laura...but I have to say, you will find a rythm and start to adjust to the new life/schedule soon. I too remember the change from college to working full time - I was dying! So be nice to yourself and we'll make it all work out!!

Josh Scobey said...

You've done the hard part in making a plan. I like your comment about Life being better after a cup of copy:) Pretty soon the weather will turn warmer and the sun will stay up later and those workouts will actually become fun!

Velma said...

I am pulling for you! Don't forget to say NO to people. I struggle with this a lot, but it helps.

Thanks to you and hubby for helping out the country. I can't believe how stressful this time can be. I think that working out will only help. Natural drugs :)

Anthony said...

You're not the only one... I had a hard time getting rolling again this winter too. I like all your next moves.

I'd add the 15 minute rule, if you don't feel like working out, promise yourself at least 15 minutes. Then if you still want to quit, its not your day. Most times you'll find you just keep going.

Cara said...

Great post, Laura! I've been thinking about you and Dan a lot -- whoever said above me that working out will probably help you get through the year is right. (Oh man, and the word verification for me to post this is "notted," which I imagine is pretty accurate for you right now.)
You are one of the most determined people I've ever met, and I know you will find a way to manage all of the stress and busy-ness that life is throwing at you right now.

Oh, I also like the suggestion to give yourself 15 minutes at least before throwing in the towel on a workout!
Good luck! :)