Training for My First Half Ironman

I don’t know what got into me, but I decided to train for a Half Ironman. I’ve been training since November, and I have let the training consume my life. It has been crazy with good sides and bad sides. I’ve learned a great deal about my ego; well, I don’t think I have an ego at this point. For the next two weeks, I will be up and down with anxiety about the race, April 3rd. Whatever happens, I survived the training and have come out of, let’s say, the dark forest. I’m ready. Um, I think I’m ready.

Here’s a breakdown of what I’ve learned:

Nutrition: Eating lots of carbs for this race does not work for me. I started putting on weight, lots of weight, until I got a nutritionist to place me in keto. You know, ketosis, like Atkins. It works. You can workout and stay in keto, but you have to give your body time to convert.

Workout Plan: It’s time consuming. I cannot imagine training for a Full Ironman. Training for a Half left me drained and tired, and it’s all I thought about. Um, it’s all I am still thinking about.

Find a Coach: Make sure this coach is not your friend because you will hate him. Sorry, Coach Frank. Find a coach that will push you even when you think you can’t do it.

Find a Group: Working out in a group is motivating sometimes. If you know have to run because your group is meeting at a certain time, you show up and complain with everyone else for the first ten minutes, and then you start laughing. But sometimes, it works to train on your own because you will be on your own during your race. I’ve shown up to meet my group for a training run, and then I’ve run my own pace on my own. Sometimes, it just helps to meet a group to get you out the door.

Ego: I thought I was a pretty good cyclist until I bought a Tri bike and realized that it’s not a road bike, and there is no way to draft someone’s wheel safely. That’s all right. You cannot draft in a race. I also thought I was pretty good until I started climbing some bad hills and ended in tears many times. Good-bye, ego.  Swimming and running? Yep. Still working on those skills.

Trust the Training Plan: I didn’t follow my training plan for a run and strained a muscle. I was out for 2.5 weeks and am still nursing the injury. Trust the coach’s training plan and do not let other people push you into going faster or going off your plan. Trust the plan and yourself.

Breaks: It is all right to take a break. Listen to you body and take a break if you need it because if you don’t, your body will take a break for you with sickness or injury. I’ve experienced both.

Relieving the Anxiety: My anxiety reliever involved making brownies. Not anymore. No sugar. I bought some motivational tattoos because there is no way I am getting a real one, and I’m listening to my hypnosis downloads. I just have to get the anxiety down before the race. I guess writing this blog helps, too.

As I begin to taper and the race approaches, one thought keeps entering my mind: What the hell am I doing?



The Whistle Blower

Being a whistle blower absolutely sucks. It really does. The majority of people normally do not want to make waves, throw someone under a bus, or create problems. However, at some point, you have to take a stand when you see something is wrong or when you see someone is getting hurt.

Hindsight is bitter. How many times have I wished I’d taken a stand against injustices that I saw, like racism, and injustices done to me, like sexual harassment. Would it have done any good?  I don’t know.

I had to take a stand, and it was a tough call. I have no idea if anything was done to stop the situation because I have not seen any changes, but at least I said something. In doing so, in being the “bad guy,” I gained respect from my family and from myself.

If you see those red flags, don’t ignore them.  I had red flags flying right in my face, and I looked the other way out of fear. I made a huge mistake, but I corrected it . . . finally. However, there was damage, and I finally had to say something.

It’s not fun to take a stand. It’s uncomfortable. Many times I questioned whether I was making something big out of something that wasn’t a very big deal? When the red flags almost blinded me, I shut my eyes. To stand up against an organization or a person and point out that something or someone is hurting other people is just an awful feeling, but I had to say something before something else happened.

I still don’t know if my efforts paid off because I had to give control to those that promised to take care of those red flags. I have to trust them. That’s hard. I wish I had said something earlier–that bitter hindsight again. I said something now, and I hope a good will come out of it.

Like I said, being a whistle blower absolutely sucks. However, knowing I did the right thing finally is a huge weight off my shoulders and lesson learned. Next time, and I hope there is not a next time, I’ll acknowledge those red flags. They’ll have to hit me in the face, but I’ll look at them .


Taking A Risk/Dallas Morning News Photo and Video Shoot

Whoever thought that I would have a chance to be filmed in a fitness video and have pictures taken for a spread in the Dallas Morning News?  Well, I won’t lie. Not me. Those videos are for those famous fitness people. Right? I’m a personal trainer and an academic and a writer. How in the world did this happen?

It’s all about that risk. It’s about switching careers mid-life and challenging myself. It’s about self-discovery. Really, I don’t think I’ve been this nervous since my dissertation defense. Could I pull it off? Am I really a trainer? How will I look in the video?

Silly. I love personal training almost as much as I love Dante’s Inferno and watching my college students design their own inferno/hell. Yes. I know what I’m doing. As far as what I would look like? I just had to let my enthusiasm show, and I did.

It’s all about taking that risk. It’s about putting your insecurities aside and doing what you love and enjoying it. Oh my. That could be called “confidence.”

What an incredibly opportunity. A huge shout out to Vernon, who took my pictures and made me feel at ease, and to Tommy, who hooked up my microphone and filmed while making me feel like he wasn’t even there. And a huge shout out to Leslie Barker Garcia, who not only interviewed me and allowed this wonderful opportunity to happen, but also endured those burpees.

The article will be out next week, and I’ll let everyone know when it comes and provide the links. Lesson learned and still learning: do not be scared to take a risk.


Burning Down the Kitchen/Trying A New Recipe

Disclaimer: I’m not a cook. I’m a baker. I can bake, but put me over the stove . . . well,  it’s a disaster.

Today, I tried a new recipe for breakfast, and I only caught the waffle iron on fire twice. All is fine, now. Really. The waffles turned out great, but the pan and the stove were a mess. Ok. They still are a hot mess. I’m procrastinating.

I used a recipe with coconut flour and coconut oil, and it was really good . . . except for the kitchen fire. I’m not a person that wants to eliminate gluten from my diet, but I just wanted to see if I liked the coconut flour. I felt better, too, than how I would felt when I ate my normal waffles.

Granted, I would usually eat these “normal” waffles after any long runs over 10 miles. Okay. The “normal” waffles are Aunt Jemima waffles that my husband would make for me. Hey, you can’t beat it.

Maybe it was the coconut flour or the fact that I simply did not run over 10 miles that made me feel better instead of that lingering tired and rather ill feeling you get from sugar and flour. I’ll let you decide.

I just ran a Google search for “Coconut Flour Waffles” and found a recipe that looked easy and had honey. I’m not giving up honey. I also added blueberries for sweetness, but you can add anything . . . like chocolate chips.

Have fun in the kitchen but don’t burn it down. I guess I need to clean up my mess.




What I’ve Learned From My Mid-Life Crisis

Well, I’m starting to settle down from my mid-life crisis and feeling at peace again. Here’s what I learned:

I am strong: I’m a lot stronger than I thought I was. I switched careers in the middle of my life and tried something new. Instead of just wishing I should have, I did it, and I learned a great deal about myself. I wouldn’t trade my experiences for anything.

I am brave: When it was time for me to leave because I realized that working for a corporation was solely driven by money because that is how business works, I gave myself a one-day pity party and then looked at other options. There were lots of other options.

I honored my red flags: Okay. This one took awhile because I had red flags all over the place. It just took one day of self-medicating with three glasses of champagne to realize that working for a corporation was not going to work. I don’t like to be controlled or feel trapped. I’m better with my own set schedule and my own business.

I am a teacher: As a Personal Trainer, I was more interested in educating my clients on how to do workouts and how to eat right. I wasn’t interested in getting them to re-sign. It was my job to teach them and then send them on their way. Um, that doesn’t work very well in sales. Nope. I then realized that I missed teaching in general. I kept asking the college students, who worked the front desk, if they needed help with their papers.

I am not motivated by money but learning: That attitude does not work very well in sales. I soak up knowledge like a sponge (yes, typical simile), but I love learning and passing on creative ways to learn to my clients and students. I’ve always been that way.

I am not scared to talk to people: I have no problem going up to strangers at a gym and talking to them and showing them different workouts. I’m not trying to pick them up, but I was trying to teach them.

I can have both worlds: Nothing is black and white, yet that is a black and white statement. I can have the best of both worlds. I can train my clients part-time and teach boot camp and stay in the fitness world so that I can hold myself accountable, and I can teach part-time at the college level so that I can teach students how to write and how to look beyond their own little worlds, like I have looked beyond mine own.

I love my family: Being away from my husband and kids all the time was horrible. Just horrible. I realized how important family was to me.

I am a writer: I didn’t honor my writing as much as I should have, and my stories piled up in my head until I had to do something . . . that’s probably where the three glasses of champagne came into being. I have to let those voices out and give them life or I am a mess.

So in the end, I am not miserable but very content with my journey.  But who am I kidding? Our journeys are really never over. Are they?



Out On A Limb

It’s shaky when you step out on a limb. It’s really shaky right now, and I can’t seem to balance it. Taking that chance to switch careers is really scary, especially when it’s not turning out the way you want it.

I know I’m  a good trainer. I’m empathetic, and I want my clients to succeed. I’m pushing myself to learn more and try more. I love working with my clients, and I believe in them.

The problem is that I’m at a place where I’m mediocre. I don’t want to be mediocre. That’s a trap. I don’t have any guidance, and for a new trainer, you need guidance . . . someone to report to, someone to help you if you’re stuck, someone to hold you accountable.

I’m at a place where I’m working at a lower pay scale than what was promised. Sure, it’s going to be fixed. It’s been four months. It’s not. The bottom line is always money, but when a place doesn’t care about its employees, it’s a huge red flag.

Right now, the limb is really shaky. I’m not sure if I  have enough patience to hang in there and keep it balanced.

There are so many red flags in my gut, and life is short.

I work hard for what I believe, but when a place grinds you down to mediocrity, then it becomes more difficult each day to push yourself out of the banality of the everyday pace. I’m an artist, and to have the creativity stifled is a complete death-blow.

I feel trapped. I vowed that I would never be in a situation where I’m treated less than my worth, but here I am again.

Now I pick myself up, lick my wounds, and figure out what to do. I’ll continue to work with my clients that I love, but I have to do something.

Nothing will change unless I take action. That’s where I am now . . . shaking, shaking, shaking out on a limb.






Happy New Year 2015

It’s a new year. I can’t believe it.  I’m sad to see 2014 go but excited to see what 2015 brings.

2014 was a time of change. Really, it was time when I could either sit in the mendacity of a good life but not be challenged or shake it up and stray from the worn and comfortable path of my life. I chose to shake it up, confront my fears, and start walking on a path I never thought I would walk. You have to love life. You really do.

Sure, I’m uncomfortable because I’m not in complete control. That’s all right. Was I ever in complete control? No, it was the illusion of control. I don’t think we’re ever in complete control of our lives. Not really.

So here I am looking forward to tomorrow. I’m happy, and it’s not the uncomfortable feeling in my stomach that I cannot name . . . I recognize it now. It’s happiness.

Sure, that anxiety still hangs over me like an albatross, and I know that working out and writing will get rid of it. Sure, I’m human and have flaws. With age, I’ve recognized them and learned to live with them.

Welcome, 2015. Let’s live this life one day at a time and live in the present, the now, and just enjoy it. Life is way too short to just walk through it without really living it.




Bad Mother Runner