My Sister – The Silent Inspiration

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Couch to 5K Workout done!!!

Some of you may not even know that Matt and I have a sister.  Actually, that’s why I am writing this post, because you need to know about her.  Kristie is the oldest of all of us, and she lives in Windsor Locks. You may have seen her at mission FITNESS taking an occasional class, attending a seminar, or cheering Matt and I on at a race or fundraising event.

Kristie has been open with her journey, so I am sure she doesn’t mind me sharing. Her weight has been an ongoing battle, she has seen highs and lows and has fought weight loss for many years.  Currently, she is on a great track and has recently loss 42 lbs, dropping 5lbs last week.

When she posted that she was doing the C25K (Couch to 5K) app and had a tough time with her last workout, I replied saying to let me know if I can do anything. She wrote back and said, “maybe you can run with me tomorrow” I cannot tell you how happy this made me.  For her to allow me to share this journey with her and to trust me enough to run by her as she tackled a tough run challenge really made me feel good.

I can’t imagine what it must be like for my sister. While she is struggling to lose weight she has a brother and sister who are doing IRONMANS, ultra marathons etc.  However, here’s the thing about my sister, even if she had the desire to do events like these, she probably wouldn’t.

Why?  Because doing endurance events like those above takes a ton of time, and a little bit of selfishness.  Well, maybe a lot of selfishness.  And Kristie is the most unselfish person you will ever meet.  I hope for one second Kristie does not think that me doing an IRONMAN makes me any better than her.  While I was out biking 100 miles on a Sunday morning, she was volunteering at her local church, and teaching CCD classes.  While I spent hours upon hours in the woods alone bettering myself, she is busy being the Girl Scout Leader for her daughter and taking a group of girls into the woods to make THEM better.  While I spend the summer hours in the lake swimming, she is out tutoring those who are having a tough time in school.  While my job as a personal trainer allows me to workout while I get paid, her job is working with children with autism, a job that not many would be able to do with so much love and passion like she does.

So, as I ran the trails Sunday morning right before I was going to meet her, I couldn’t help but think that some may think I am inspiring for what I do.   (Don’t get me wrong, that is a big reason why I do what I do) but, it must be said that my sister – and so many out there just like her – are just as inspiring, if not more.

I saw Kristie pushing herself as she ran up the hill during her C25K app and thought it was no different than me pushing myself at the 5k the day before.  We were both out of breath, nearly puking, wanting to stop…. and neither of us did.  So whether you are doing a 6 minute mile or a 15 minute mile…it doesn’t matter.  If you are giving it all you have and you DO NOT QUIT and keep showing up, YOU ARE INSPIRING.

So Kristie, you will probably never do an IRONMAN because you would never take that much time for yourself… and man, do I honor that.  However, what I hope you continue to realize is 30 minutes to an hour a day you MUST take for yourself and keep doing what you’re doing.  It is the most unselfish thing you can do…because a HEALTHY you is so important for your future and your daughters future.

I am so proud of you and I know that you will keep progressing.  Not only is our family here for you, but I KNOW that the mission FITNESS family is here for you too!!

Keep pushing, keep inspiring.

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What’s Next?

What’s Next?

You may have remembered me saying on Facebook or on this blog that I was ready to be “normal” for a while.  Sleep past 6am every once in a while.  Workout once a day for an hour.  Skip a day of working out if it didn’t fit into the schedule.  Play lots of golf.

Why? Well, for the last 3 years I have had “key” races on my calendar that I worked hard for.

2015 the 50 Mile Championships at Cayuga.

2016 Vermont 50 where I trained for the win.

2017 IRONMAN Lake Placid.

This meant lots of early morning wake ups.  It meant saying no to a lot of social events and dialing in nutrition and sleep for maximum performance.  It was lonely and it was tough.  It brought blood, and LOTS of sweat and tears.  It made me question what the hell I was doing and broke me down physically, mentally and spiritually.

So, why did I do it?  Why?  Because when I look up at those three races listed and I think about those days….June 1, 2015….September 25, 2016 and July 24, 2017…..I can’t stop the tears from streaming down my face.  Those three days…and the thousands of hours that got me to those finish lines…taught me more about myself then ANYTHING ever will.  The amount of joy I felt in those 29 total hours of racing cannot be described.  The pride I felt at the end of each of those races were worth every ounce of pain I endured.

blog5However, after IRONMAN I thought that maybe it was time to take a year off.  For the first few weeks it worked well.  “So, this is what it feels like to be a regular person?”  However, it quickly became old.  I kept trying to convince myself that this is what I needed to do.  I needed to give my body a rest.  I needed to not have the stress of training for something.  I listened to those around me, “take some time off…stop doing this to yourself.”  Yes…this is what I needed.

One thing…I was lying to myself and I knew it.  What I need to do is keep pushing myself EVERY DAY and EVERY YEAR to be a better me.  And waking up late(r), doing casual workouts, etc IS NOT WORKING!

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I don’t regret these last few months.  I learned a lot during them and also gained a perspective that will serve me in my career as a coach and personal trainer.  I learned that mental toughness is a habit.  It is a muscle that needs to be trained the same way any other muscle group has to be trained.  It becomes so EASY to give up during a workout when giving up is an option.  It becomes so easy to start eating shitty food when it won’t affect your performance.  It becomes easy to become MENTALLY WEAK and start to convince yourself that this life is okay.

When you aren’t stretching, growing, and training for something bigger than you, you lose a certain “something”.  I KNOW THAT NOW.  These last few months have taught me that.  The only way you know what I am talking about is if you have been through it.  I have realized long ago that you can NEVER explain to people why you would want to “run for 50 miles” or “do these crazy things”.  It is hard to understand until you have done it.

blog3Being on the other side of it right now, when 3 miles on a treadmill feels like an eternity….I can understand why people think it is impossible.  I can understand why people think it is stupid and crazy.  I am there now.  I understand.  But I don’t like it.

However, what I have going for me is I’ve seen the other side.  I know I have it in me to push through this funk that I am in and get back to the other side.  I know I am capable of 50, 100, 200 mile races even though 3 miles feels SO. DAMN. HARD. right now.  I KNOW I need to get back to spending time with those who are stretching their limits and living a life of passion.  Those that are literally CHANGING PEOPLES LIVES by what they are doing on a day to day basis.  I realize that by distancing myself from them it made it easier to think, “this life is okay.  It’s okay to just live this life that may not challenge you.”

blog4Ha!  Nope, that’s not me.  It physically hurts me to not be that person right now.  I know deep in my soul I was born to be the person I am when I am training for these events that I once thought were impossible.  I know I am a better wife, daughter, sister, friend and person when I am that person.

It has been something I have known for awhile, but it has been easy to bury it down because I’ve been so busy and not able to spend much time with those who inspire me.  Then last week happened.

blogIt started with a mission FITNESS meeting.  A sat there and looked around at my coworkers who are so freaking inspiring.  Each one of them makes me want to be better in one area of my life.  The are all working every day to be the best version of themselves, and it is so special to be a part of.  Toward the end of our meeting, Matt took time to thank Kim as we celebrated her 4 year anniversary at mission.  Anyone who knows Kim knows what she has done for mission.  It is incredible.

To think of the lives she changes each and every day brought tears to my eyes.  Isn’t that what life is about? I am so passionate about the fact that it is our DUTY to make this world a better place by being in it.  My TEAM at MF does that, certainty Kim.  He then said, “I don’t know how you do it.  I wake up at 430am and you already have an inspiring post on MFers on a mission Facebook Group.  You work full time, your a single Mom and in July you are going to do an IRONMAN.  I don’t know how the hell you are going to do this, but I know you will.”

Kim then said with so much certainty, “I WILL”  That’s when I lost it.  See, it isn’t about the IRONMAN.  It is more than that.  Kim will do this IRONMAN and know that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.  More importantly, she will now take away so many peoples excuse that they “don’t have time”.  By her doing this IRONMAN she knows she is affecting hundreds of peoples lives.  That’s powerful.

Fast forward a week.  I have a new fire under me.  I woke up again and realized it is my duty to inspire others through my actions.  It’s what I chose to do in my career and I know it’s what I was put on this earth to do.  So, my workouts picked up a notch after that.  Wednesday I was on the treadmill, finishing my last half mile at a 7:02 pace.  I was dying.  Then…Kim walks in.

She walks over the treadmill and asks how much longer I have.  I say 1/4 mile.  She says, “well pick it up then.”  Suddenly, my 7:02 became 6:45.  I felt her energy, “that’s it!” 6:20.  “Hell Yeah” as I finished at a 6:02 and I felt amazing.  3 minutes ago I had nothing left.  What changed?

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What changed was who I was surrounded by.  I jumped on the bike and talked to Kim for the next 30 minutes.  She listened as I poured my heart out to her after she asked, “what are you training for?”  She didn’t need me to explain why I needed something on the schedule.  She gets it.  And I realized in that moment that this is what I need…this is why I feel my life is so broken right now.

Surround yourself with those who get it and that will push you to your greatness.  I couldn’t be happier to have so many of those people around me…it’s time to start spending more time with them and time to get something on the calendar.

I am happy to say that things have turned around quite nicely since my last post. Now, this was something I knew would happen. I knew when everyone was telling me, “everything will be fine in the end” that they would be right. I knew that the little “mistakes” and “imperfections” would fade away as the beauty of the decor and overall look of the condo took over. However, when you are in the moment, staring at those imperfections, those comments don’t really mean anything to you. In those moments it isn’t about what it will be, it’s about what is.  That’s not true with everything for me, just when you are spending a lot of money to pay professionals to do a job you expect to be perfect. That’s when it’s hard to look past the imperfections.

Anyway, that phase is over, and while I can still see some of the imperfections, they are starting to fade as time goes on.  We still have a lot of work to do, but at least it is livable now.  We aren’t rushing on the decor, so the pictures you see below may look a little empty.  However, if you scan down to my previous post and see the before pictures you will appreciate the differences:

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I can’t tell you how much everything has changed since we moved into our own space. I had no idea how much staying in a small bedroom in someone else’s home affected me. To now be able to wake up and have the whole house to ourselves is so freeing and inspiring. I feel like my mind has opened up and I have such a clearer vision of everything. I am starting to actually SEE the views from our condo and appreciate the town that we live in. I can’t imagine what it will be like when we come down next year and almost everything is done and we can relax and enjoy.

 

Condo Renovation

If you feel as though I have fallen off the face of the earth as a blogger and as a friend, I’m sorry. It has been a trying 6 weeks and I feel as though I have just shut down. As a writer.  As a creator. As a motivator. As a friend. As a person.  I am not proud of this…. I hate it. I hate the way I feel and the person I am at this moment, and I hope I’m not far from becoming the person I was not that long ago. A person full of happiness and grateful for such an amazing life.

I won’t sit here and bore you with all that has gone wrong. That wouldn’t be fun for you to listen to, and it would not be healthy for me to put out there. That’s what my journal is for. Let’s just say that since we have been handed the keys to our condo, everything has seemed to go wrong. I have NEVER felt so out of control, putting faith in “professionals” to completely renovate our condo and feeling as though each day things got worse not better.

My close friends know the details, but let’s just say it has been a learning experience.   I know that in the end we will be not only be relieved, but happy with this move. However, right now what was supposed to be a 2 week project is now 6 weeks in, with an overwhelming amount of work left. On a good note, the place is slowly starting to look like a home, and I cannot wait to move in.

Here are some before and during pics. Since the “during” pics were taken there are even more updates, which I will post soon. We have a long way to go until the place starts to look like our home, but I will try to remain patient and positive.

Again, this is not who I am or who I want to be. This last month and a half has proven to be a test and hands down the hardest thing I have ever been through in my life. I have obviously had single harder moments and days, but never a prolonged period this difficult.  I know there are reasons for these trials, and I will come out stronger than ever. I know that.

Thank you all who have lifted me up when I needed it. Being so far away from friends and family has made me realize how important good friends are and that distance can never break true bonds.  Here’s to progress and patience!

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