“F” words no athlete should be afraid of…

I just crossed the finish line of a VERY FULL and BUSY week…teaching 8th grader science all day followed by parent teacher conferences until 7 pm Monday-Wednesday, followed by another round of parent teacher conferences Thursday morning until noon (54 conferences in all…less than half of my students).  My conversations with parents and students, sparked my thoughts about “failure.”  I shared my view of failure with some parents and students…

You have only failed if you didn’t learn something along the way and you stopped trying to get better.

0bd408b05b8bd8e7ac20be974c539260

My view of failure doesn’t just apply to 8th grade science, but to life and sport.  As an athlete, there are some very prominent “F” words that show up from time to time.  I do my best to change my thinking from the negative connotation that these “F” words can have to a much more positive outlook when they appear.  How can these “F” words help me be a better athlete?!?!?

Fear…Many people have anxiety when they allow fear to enter their domain.  However, fear doesn’t seem to cause me anxiety.  I view fear as a challenge for me to become better.  When I stop and look fear head on, I become strong, courageous, confident, powerful and in control of my domain.

Failure…For me, fear and failure can go hand-in-hand.  On race day, I sometimes experience the “fear of failure,” so I have to keep reminding myself of the following:  as long as I learn something and keep trying to become better, I am not failing.

IMG_2344

Frustration…I only become frustrated when I don’t meet the expectations I have set for myself.  I am learning to adjust these expectations to help reduce the amount of frustration that I feel, but for a very goal-oriented person with high standards, adjusting expectations can be a challenge.  Luckily I have never been one to shy away from a challenge 🙂

What negative “F” words do you encounter that you are trying to twist into a positive???

“Kiss Me Harder!!”

This last Sunday we went outdoors for our bicycle ride.  This may not be a new phenomena for some of you, but for those of us who live in Iowa, we are really tired of riding our bicycles on the trainers in the basement.  We have been in the basement since late October, so it is definitely time to get off the trainer and get outside!!  I had a brick scheduled for Sunday…ride a hilly route for 2 hours and then follow that up with an easy 20 minute run.

As we pulled away from home, I knew it was going to be a challenging ride.  The temperature was in the mid 40s and the winds were blowing at a sustained 25 mph from the NNW with gusts much higher.  Because of these winds, we decided to ride to the NNW first so we could get the most challenging part out of the way, with the hopes that we could enjoy our return ride home.  Positive note…we were riding outside and it was a bright, sunny day 🙂

The shadows of three amazing riders...Kris, me and my husband.
The shadows of three amazing riders…Kris, me and my husband.

That wind was BRUTAL!!  I thought back to my most recent marathon…when the winds picked up at mile 18 and made the run more challenging, Adam started talking out loud to the wind, “Kiss me harder.”  As I was leaving town and riding to the north into the headwind, Adam entered my head and I immediately started talking to and eventually shouting at the wind… “Kiss me harder…Kiss ME harder…Kiss ME HARDER…KISS ME HARDER.”

My husband and I stopped at the stop sign at 170th street to hydrate.  He decided he was heading back home (he had been sick the day before and didn’t have much energy from his inability to keep nutrition in his system).  I was mentally questioning myself, “Can I do this?  I’m really tired and this is REALLY hard!!”  Thankfully Kris was riding with us as well.  As she pulled up to the stop sign she yelled, “I only have 2 and a 1/2 more minutes in Zone 3.  I’m going to the next stop sign.”  “Ok, I’m with you!!” I yelled back.  I told my husband to ride home safely and took off after Kris.  The winds now created a crosswind as we rode west on 170th street.  I knew I was riding at a severe angle, leaning hard to the right, but this was a must if I was to keep my bike on the road.  “Kiss me harder!!”

We stopped at the next stop sign and talked about our plan.  I told Kris I was going to the next stop sign and she decided to join me.  We fueled up and again turned back into the headwind as we went north on R38.  “Kiss ME HARDER!!”

It was on R38 that I had the following conversation with myself, “I’ve never had a name for my bicycle.  I should name you!! …KISS ME HARDER… Red…Ruby…Rojo (red in Spanish)…Mojo (even though they don’t rhyme, they are spelled nearly the same)…KISS ME HARDER… Mojo…that is your new name!!  Come on Mojo…get me to the next stop sign!!  …KISS ME HARDER…”

Unfortunately this conversation didn’t last very long, so I needed a new strategy to get me to the next stop sign…time to play mental tricks on myself… “Ok…you CAN make it to the church up the road…WHAT?!?!?! I’m only going 7 mph…KISS ME HARDER…You CAN make it to the goat farm…too bad those goats aren’t fainting goats…I’ve always wanted to have fainting goats…KISS ME HARDER…See that gray house…you CAN make it there…that flag is blowing straight out…KISS ME HARDER…9 mph is a little better than 7 mph…KISS ME HARDER…See the green house…you CAN make it there…KISS ME HARDER…OH, there is the stop sign!!  I’m at an hour and 5 minutes ride time.  There is NO WAY it is going to take me an hour to get home…Just go to the farmhouse on the top of the first hill on E18, then you can turn back and head home.  Ok…let’s do this!!”

As I approached the stop sign, I yelled to Kris, “I’m going to the farmhouse on the top of the first hill on E18, then turning around.”  Kris responded with, “Ok I’m with you.”  As I turned back to the west, that crosswind was back and my private conversation continued… “Kiss Me Harder…I WILL finish this…Kiss ME Harder…I WILL FINISH this…KISS ME HARDER…I WILL FINISH THIS!!  YAY…WE MADE IT!!!”  It took us 1 hour and 17 minutes to get to the turn around point…14.78 miles.  Though there weren’t many hills on this route, the headwinds and crosswinds posed enough of a challenge that I wasn’t too concerned about the lack of hills.

We made it to the turn around point!!
We made it to the turn around point!!

Now for the return trip home… “This is why we were pushing so hard on the way out…it feels awesome with that wind at my back…KISS ME HARDER…Oh my…I’m going 25 mph without even trying…KISS ME HARDER…Let’s see just how fast I can go…30.4 mph with no more gears to upshift to…KISS ME HARDER…Let’s go faster…KISS ME HARDER!!”  It only took 46 minutes to go back the 14.78 miles home.

Now for the run portion of my brick…KISS ME HARDER!!!

Where’s My Mojo

This last week I have had a bout with lack of motivation.  It might actually be my body telling me to take it easy and recover after last Sunday’s marathon in Little Rock, Arkansas, or it could be my mind saying, “You have a very long week coming up with conferences, so take a break and get rejuvenated for your busy week ahead.”

I didn’t exercise at all Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday.  I taught TRX on Thursday, but took it VERY easy during this workout.  Friday morning I got up and ran on the treadmill before doing some hard core exercises.  The run was a struggle since my legs felt as though someone had loaded them full of lead.  I ended up running 3 miles at a 10:56 pace.  Since my average pace was 8:55 at Sunday’s marathon, this was slow for me, but it was a pace that my body needed to help me recover.  Saturday and Sunday were also void of exercise.

This coming week, I have parent teacher conferences, which will require me to work from 7 am to 7 pm Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.  I will also have to work from 8 – 11:30 am on Thursday morning, but then…SPRING BREAK for 10 days!!  Mojo…During this time, I will find you and own you!! Spring break is going to be a time for me to get back on track, re energized and motivated about upcoming races and the end of the school year 🙂

motivation

We all have peaks and valleys with the amount of mojo we possess.  Just because I am in the valley today, doesn’t mean I will be tomorrow.  What is it going to take for me to find my mojo again??????

1.  Take a moment and remember why I set the goals for myself that I did.

2.  Put my feet on the floor and get moving…The hardest part is often putting my feet on the floor and stepping out the door.  Once I take the first few steps, it is often easy to keep moving.  Getting started is the hardest part.

3.  Make Everyday Count…If I have a bad day, get up and do it again tomorrow.  The key to a bad day is to not sulk, but turn it around.  Tomorrow is a new day, so take it and run with it!!

4.  Be consistent, but flexible…Do the BEST I can with what I have.  My life is different from the lives of others.  I need to do what I can for ME with the time, energy and strength that I have at that time.

5.  Be kind to my body…If I want my body to perform at its peak, I need to ensure that I take care of my body and treat it right.  If you put sand in the gas tank of a car, it won’t run…likewise, if I am not kind to my body, my body won’t run efficiently either.

6.  Be positive and surround myself with positive people and positive circumstances…”Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, and latch on to the affirmative.” Baloo from the Jungle Book…Need I say more?!?!?!?!?

Now…Let’s go find that MOJO!!!!!!