We Go Back

Have you ever heard the phrase “glory days”? Do you have any of them?

I have had when I like to call Glory Kicks throughout my adulthood. I identify these as times when I made choices and did things that moved the ball of my life forward. In all of them- I learned lessons about myself, but as their title would indicate, the lessons were sometimes short lived- a kick I was on.

For a period of time in college I was on the Atkins diet. This served me well- I was a carb addict and by tracking and limiting the carbs I lost good weight. Unfortunately I also began an unhealthy obsession tracking my ketosis. Like constantly.

What I learned: Carbs make me gain weight and cutting them out helped me lose. Meat and cheese is took expensive for a poor college kid. Tracking sometimes makes me a little nuts.

Also while I was in college, I enrolled in a tae kwon do class to get an extra few credit hours. I learned a ton and I had so much fun in the process. I earned a medal in a form competition and I got a green stripe when I tested at the end of the semester. Unfortunately, when the class ended I couldn’t afford individual lessons so I stopped.

What I learned: I love the discipline and fitness required for martial arts. Martial arts have a significant cost associated for lessons.

After college and after the job that helped me gain 100 pounds I stumbled on Nerd Fitness. I jumped into the community and challenges. I started running and tracking my food. Eventually I realized I had an issue with gluten. I lost 100 pounds and was so happy. Then things went sideways and I had conflicting goals. After I ran my marathon I was stuck with- Do I run? Do I lift? Do I eat to train? Do I go back to calorie watching? How do I keep doing what I was doing when I just got married and our eating and fitness habits re so different? Slowly I started putting weight back on… then I had a baby.

What I learned: I don’t need the quantity of food I had been consuming. Some running was great for me. Gluten is bad. I like being strong. Too many goals makes me stop achieving any of them.

Most recently I completed a DietBet challenge. Normally I don’t just shoot to have a weight loss goal, because there are so many other and better markers of health, but I needed to do something to motivate me out of my slump. This plan worked- I woke up early and went to the gym 3 days a week, tracked what I ate, and lost 9.4 pound in 4 weeks.

What I learned: Money can be very motivating. Working out early helps me start my day. I still don’t need to eat like I’m nursing.

So here’s what I’m getting at- our lives are races that we run and we have these power bursts (or kicks) that propel us forward. We just need to be able to look back at what we learned and put those ideas into practice when we need a jolt.

For me this looks like: Eat only what you need; not too many carbs and avoid gluten. Choose a sport or activity that allows you to be disciplined; don’t just go willy nilly and play it by ear (have a plan). Get up early and either workout or at a minimum get your head right. Have a financial stake in your success.

These rules are specific to me, not a blueprint for everyone. They can get me where I want to go because they are time tested.

I think that anyone who is willing to look back with a discerning eye on their life, like I did, will see patterns of what worked and what didn’t that they can lay over their current circumstances to help define a beat path.

Also, I think I’m going to go back and try tae kwon do again.

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Mt Sherman (and “Gale” her BFF)

I remember the first time I went hiking in Colorado. It was a couple of years ago and a few of us ladies hiked out to Ouzel Falls; ever since then I have been enamored with not only the mountains, but also the gorgeous skies they reach up to. Those days I would send pictures of the sunrises back home almost daily, which I’m sure my friends and family just loved (especially at 5 in the morning…). So often, I would just pull over and stare.

Fast forward to this past weekend- a few of us decided, as the season is drawing to a close, we wanted to try to catch Mt. Sherman (a fourteener) at sunrise. Despite my best effort to dissuade everyone from a midnight meetup, at 12:02 am we arrived at our first friend’s house to begin the journey. Up until this point, most of our hikes started in the sunshine, with just a few that required a predawn meet up. Our goal with Sherman was to be standing at the trailhead ready to go by 2:30/3am. So, being that it was about a 2 hour drive we had no choice but to leave at midnight. Official sunrise was set for 6:28, but we would need to be up at the summit by 6am to catch it all.

We met up with our next companion at 12:30 and after a quick stop for coffee and nutrition (because it wasn’t dinner or breakfast- so what do you call it?) we got on our way. The nice thing about starting at that hour is that there isn’t anyone else around to fight with for parking etc. We found the trail head with little issue, and in the darkness we nearly drove up onto the mountain itself. We parked the car, got our headlamps and windbreakers on and began the ascent.

Hiking in the dark is strange– I had only done it once before, when we hiked Long’s Peak, and then too I found myself lost in my thoughts.

With your headlamp focused on the trail ahead it’s very easy to get tunnel vision. Step look, step look, on and on in the night. A few minutes into the hike the wind started and it did not relent then entire time we were on Sherman. I have never in my life experienced gales like that. Full power and force repeatedly knocked me off of my footing- a sight that I’m sure made those around me think I was drunk.

We worked our way through the dark following my friend’s GPS and at one point we realized that we had gotten off the trail, needing to work our way back. I’ve not been so grateful for a piece of technology as I was in that moment. My mind started to run away, as we made our way back to the course, and I imagined being lost in the darkness, alone for hours. I can’t imagine that my crew would do that to me, but in the dark on the side of a peak, it’s hard to not let the enemy get inside your head…

Once back on the trail we started to move confidently forward again. Onward and upward we pressed until we reached what I barely recall reading about on the trip reports- the sawtooth/saddle. I couldn’t tell at the time, because of the pitch black surroundings that engulfed me, but we were VERY high up and there wasn’t much to either side of us. The wind was brutal and I frequently found myself touching the rock face next to me for assurance. I needed the rock to *literally* be my rock.

As I came over one ridge I realized that I couldn’t see my party, and for a brief moment Bross came running back into my mind. No no no, this is not happening again.

Then I heard “Turn off your light and sit down.’ My friends were huddled inside a windbreak and when I killed my headlamp and joined them, my eyes caught sight of a million stars.

I lost my words. The sky was amazing, the wind was calm, and here in the middle of desolation and darkness, there was an overwhelming beauty that I cannot explain.

I could’ve sat in that windbreak all night.

But, the sky to the east was starting to get warm, and we had a sunrise to catch.

My friend had his GPS out again and we realized we had less that a tenth of a mile to go for the summit. We climbed out of our little camp and pushed onward, towards the finish line. We made it to the summit a little before 6am and found a windbreak to hunker down in. After a little building, which I cannot take credit for, our hut was complete. We sat there on our throne atop Mount Sherman and watched as the sun stretched out and caught the sky. The colors that we saw that morning were incomparable to anything you can visualize and paint with, and in that moment everything was right with the world.

Looking at the Layers of Pikes

After a few minutes of enjoying the view, I started to realize that I could not feel my fingers. The wind was so bad that I was also starting to lose feeling in my face. We posed for a couple more photos and then decided we better start to head down the mountain.

Our Crew

The sun was coming up, but the brutal wind was relentless and it made the descent more difficult for me than it probably should’ve been. I had on enough layers, but the whipping wind continued to throw me off of my balance. We slowly made our way down, through the terrain that was now well illuminated and so very foreign to me.

We came over the sawtooth and around cliffs that screamed “Nope” but knowing that we had already conquered them made the process easier to handle.

The Pathway Down

The sun was well out by now and I finally had feeling back in my face and fingers. I was shocked at the number of people who were still making the pilgrimage to the top and one of our seasoned teammates was advising them of the weather. Off in the distance we could see the clouds rolling in- bad weather was coming, and these folks and their kiddos were ill prepared for what we had just encountered (and was about to get worse).

Clouds coming at Sherman

It was kind of fun seeing all the things we had missed in the darkness as we finished our descent. There was a few old mining structures that we falling apart, but somehow still there. There were many off shoots to the trail that we were on- it was crazy to think that we only got slightly off track once!

We finished our hike totally thawed out (I was relieved to have all of my digits in tact) and got in the car to head home. So many people were still coming to conquer this animal, and I don’t know if I would’ve gone with had I known all the wind we encountered.

Sherman's Epic Crew

Who am I kidding. I totally would’ve still gone.

 

Hey guys! All the photos in today’s blog are property of my friend over at images by mikel. You should probably check out his website and pictures- there are some incredible shots of things that you and I never even think to look at twice! Cheers 🙂

The Art of Coming Undone

I’ve been spending a lot of time lately on self reflection, goal planning, and pathway checking. I know where I want to be and what that looks like for me, but as I step back and pay more attention to the actions I’m taking towards that end game (my level 50?) I realize that I am walking in the wrong direction.

We all have a path and I think what I’ve come to realize is that in my desperate codependency I have been mimicking, instead of living.

I don’t know what took me so long to pull my head out of my ass. Seriously.

My dad died 5 years ago today (August 8th), and in that time I’ve come really far in saving myself from ending up just like him. But my motivations lately have been all wrong. The things I keep desperately trying to fit into my mold are all wrong. I’ve had difficulty finding my passion over the last few months. Nothing is motivating me except avoiding the disappointment of others. What a horrible way to go.

I need to be truthful with Robin, and not care about anyone or anything else. If I let someone down because I didn’t meet their expectations of me, that’s information about them- not me.

True facts about Robin:

-I like to run. Short distances. Like 3-10 miles or less. Beyond that I hate life and its not fun for me anymore.

-I don’t want to look like a runner. Most runners who are elite are skinny fat. I want to be strong.

-I hate being told what to eat. I’m stubborn and need to make my own choices, but not out of fear. And I’m picky. I like what I like. I like mostly Paleo. I like the occasional gluten free item without a steaming hot plate of guilt.

 

Only I know what works for me– that’s it. No one else can possibly know what is in my brain, and therefore they cannot possibly know what I need.

 

So… below is a rewrite, revamp, overhaul of my goals for the current 6 week challenge on Nerd Fitness….

#sorrynotsorry

 

Hammi’s Main Quest: Be Real Honest

(July 29- Sept 8)
Missions:

1. Read. I checked out the New Rules of Lifting for Women from the library. This goal is pass or fail. Reading the book by September 8th is a pass

 

Reward: (+2 STA +2 CON)

2. Relax. As I stated in my rant above, I like to run short distances. My goal for the rest of this challenge is to fun run. If it’s not fun, I stop. I’d like to do this once a week.

4 weeks= A

3 weeks= B

2 weeks= C

Reward: (+2 CHA +2 WIS)

 

3. Track. Ok. Being totally honest with myself, when I stay accountable for what goes in, I am more likely to be honest. I like tracking my food. Plain and simple. Not obsessing. Just calling it what it is. This goal remains unchanged.

36-42 days = A

29-35 days = B

22-28 days = C

15-21 days = D

0-14 days = F

Reward: (+2 DEX, +1 WIS)
Life Quest:

4. Research. For my life goal I want to start making progress on a dream that Pixie and I have had for a while now. We want to figure out some way to either become a non-profit that raises money for a cause or figure out how to partner with one that does. I am passionate about mental health research and abolition of the stigma surrounding mental health issues, as I have loved ones who struggle with bipolar, depression, and anxiety. I want to spend the next 6 weeks researching nonprofits and how to get our toes in the water without looking like fools.

6 study sessions= A

5 study sessions= B

4 study sessions= C

3 study sessions= D

0-2 study sessions= F

Reward: (+2 WIS, +2 CON)

The Importance of All Women Events

Today I ran in the Esprit de She 10k down at Cherry Creek in Denver. I had planned on putting together a race report for everyone- I even went around taking extra pictures of all the great vendor tents and other fun activates at the starting line. I was going to share my experience with the world!

But, as the race began and I got out onto the course, my music-less mind wandered to another topic.

As I was pushing through the first mile in the scorching “mile closer to the sun” of Denver I started thinking about the race that I was taking a part of.

The 10k was run by 136 women- and the 5k was run by 279 women. All women- awesome women. Mothers, daughters, sisters, friends, and ladies who just needed to get out there and DO something.

I started to think of the value of events like this, where only women are invited to participate. There are so many good things that races of this nature display, I could talk about them all day. Today I’ll just scratch the surface.

While men are also awesome, women are just wired different. While most men are designed with X+Y=Z mentality, our races are run with emotion and heart. We are mind, body, and soul- and we leave it all out there on the course, for everyone to see.

I think that women are involved with events like The Esprit de She, we play off each other in a way that is unique. When we see another woman succeed at her goal and have a victory, we glean hope and encouragement, that maybe we can do it, too! We see them accomplish things that are in our reach, because they have been where we are, and maybe we just needed to see another person just like us reach their dream.

Likewise, when we see another woman fall short, we feel for them. Our hearts break when a sister is hurting. It drives us to keep going. It reminds us that we are human and are in a constant state of change. We look at that woman, and we feel the need to look at our own journey and push harder. We all have the potential to fall. I’ve seen it so many times- our friend, who we don’t even know, needs help and we run to her aid and cheer her on. Because if she lifts her head up- we do, too.

Looking around today I saw moms running with their daughters, friends running with other friends, women running solo- no music, watch, or anything (I call it Zen running. I envy them). All of us were putting in the same miles. We were fighting the same fight and toppling the same challenges.

I hope that all of those women out there today look back and realize that while women can be fierce competitors, we do not have to be in competition with each other. We can love and support each other in an environment that is positive and encouraging. I hope everyone today looks back at what they did and remembers that they are a part of a long line of women who are strong and have immeasurable value.

Today we all showed that we can bring a picture of grace and grit to a sport that pushes our minds as much as our bodies.

Today, as a sisterhood, we conquered the world. Together.

Motivation- Get It While It’s HOT

Not many people cry when they leave the gym after accomplishing 2 hours and 45 minutes of working out.

But I’m not like most people.

I knew that this week with my marathon training, something was going to hit the fan. I don’t know if it’s because 18 miles is just SCREAMING to be a mental road block, or if I am uniquely disadvantaged in the motivation department. Either way, this was going to suck.

I knew from the get-go that this 18 would be a challenge for me. All week long I planned, mapped, and prepared to run this thing, all the while in the back of my head a little voice kept saying “no.” Damn defeatist.

Friday morning I woke up early, so that I could do the run with plenty of time to relax and refocus before work.

But something got in the way- well, someone. Me.

Nothing I did would get me out the door. So I did what any self respecting runner in training did- I lied to myself.

I told myself that it was ok to not do it today and that there was always time this weekend. Snow storm Saturday? Who cares? Plans on Sunday? I’m sure you can squeeze this in.

Word to the wise- do not attempt to “squeeze in” an 18 mile training run.

 

So fast forward to Sunday evening. It is now too dark out to run safely for that distance, and besides, the trail I was going to run is covered with snow… So I make my way to the gym thinking “I’ll just do 3 sets of 6 miles on the treadmill. Piece of cake.”

 

I’d rather have the cake.

 

Nothing in me would stay focused on the run. It was too hot. I’m dripping with sweat **new machine**. This one is too breezy. I can’t stay in the middle **new machine**. OH elliptical! This elliptical squeaks… you get the point. Throughout the course of the 18 mixed miles and 2hr 47 min extravaganza, I was on/used 6 machines.

My Training Log

Some day I’ll learn.

Hence the crying as I left the gym. I felt like I owed it to myself to have gotten those miles in out on the path or road. I felt like I cheated myself out of success. I was overwhelmed with guilt over not having done it “right.” Most of all, I was disappointed.

 

Moral of the story? If you have a huge task to accomplish, just do it. Right when you plan to. Don’t put it off for whenever. Whenever could leave you in a fight with yourself. And you just may lose that fight.