And Then I Found It

So back to the story.  I had learned I didn’t like plain running.  And I didn’t really like triathlons that much.  So what next?  I somehow came across the Warrior Dash.  I don’t even remember how I heard about it, but as soon as I saw it, I knew I had to try it.  Those people in that ad looked like they were having so much fun!  I looked into all the obstacle course races I could find at the time, and decided the Warrior Dash seemed like the least intimidating.  I mean, on the Spartan race you had to do 30 burpees if you couldn’t complete an obstacle!  I didn’t even know what a burpee was at that time, but I knew I probably didn’t want to do 30 of them.  Ah, to be naïve again.  (As it turns out, my first assumption was, in fact, correct).  But there was no penalty for not doing obstacles on this one, and the participants looked a little less intense, so I figured it was a good one to try.  But I didn’t want to do it alone, and my husband had to serve as babysitter.  So I called up my best girlfriend who lives out of state, told her to come to town for a girls’ weekend to do a mud run, and like any best girlfriend, she said ‘sure!’
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It was raining that day, and although it was a time of year that would normally be warm, we had a cold front come through.  We basically trudged through 6 inches of mud for 3.1 miles, up and down mud hills, through muddy ditches…and that was separate from the obstacles that were supposed to be muddy.  Since that’s my only experience with a mud obstacle race, I’m not quite sure how much of the mud was from the rain and how much was supposed to be there. The running trudging through mud part was hard. And I was cold. But the obstacle part was so much fun. And I was hooked!!
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So I had finally found my ‘thing’ I wanted to do.  I couldn’t wait for my next one.  And I finally had some training goals.  I came home and convinced my husband that he needed this in his life.  We both signed up for the local Rugged Maniac in November and got my mom to get a plane ticket to come for a visit during that time so she could watch the kids 🙂  I can’t wait!  I still hadn’t decided to be a ninja, but I did know I needed to get off the couch and get in shape. But what to do?

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We interrupt the story to bring you this important PSA

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I have always loved this quote.  “She believed she could so she did”.  This is a running brag board I made for myself after I had completed my first 2 races.  I had already made my husband and daughter one, so I figured I should have one too.  It’s a place to keep bibs, photos, medals, stats, etc.  And so when I needed something for the center, I couldn’t think of anything more appropriate.  I believed I could do it, so I did.  I didn’t have a lot of experience.  I didn’t get myself all worked up with having the perfect training plan, or the perfect equipment, or the perfect running (in this example) paraphernalia.  I just wanted to do a 5K and a triathlon, so I did!

I’m a perfectionist and a planner.  I have lists about my lists.  So it could have been very easy for me to get all in my head about not having a pre-5K or a pre-tri checklist with all the things I needed to do, learn, buy, and practice checked off.  But if I had let myself do that, I would have never crossed the start lines of the actual races.  Should I have done some more training?  Probably.  Do I suggest you go out and do a triathlon cold?  If it means you’ll actually do it, then yes!  If I had started training, I would have seen how out of shape I really was.  I would have started comparing myself to what I thought everyone else would be like.  I would have gotten scared of failing and chickened out.  But once I crossed that start line there was nothing to do but put one foot in front of the other and keep going.  And before long, I was crossing the finish line.  Was I the fastest?  Of course not!  Was I the slowest?  Nope!  And I found that there was such a beautiful eclectic-ness to the women out there.  There were so many shapes, colors, and sizes out there in the field, and no one could have cared less that I had a borrowed bike and only 3.1 miles on my shoes.

But one of the biggest reasons I did all this was to model to my family that if something sounds like fun, JUST DO IT!  Yes, there is something to that Nike slogan.  Don’t overthink it.  Don’t compare yourself to anyone else.  Don’t get discouraged if you don’t look like everyone else, have less experience, or borrowed gear.  Just get out there and do it.  And if you enjoy it, keep doing it!  And before long, you’ll be one of the seasoned ones out there with the opportunity to help all the other newbies that were in your shoes.

And DO NOT be afraid to fail.  This is a big one for me.  In the past, if I didn’t think I would succeed at something, I didn’t try.  I’m such a perfectionist and have such a fear of failure.  But I have to just get over that, on a daily basis.  Dream big!  You never know how far you can get if you don’t even try.  I know there are so many corny sayings about this topic, but I’m starting to learn that they are all true.

And I have to remember this daily as I work towards American Ninja Warrior (yes, we’re still getting to that)

And never underestimate the influence you have over the people around you.  I never really appreciated that until this year.  My kids are getting to the ages that they want to do everything I do.  So if I can encourage them to live a healthier life by making good choices for myself, then that’s just a bonus.  And these lessons that I’m learning this year will influence the rest of this story to come.  (If you have a keen eye, you’ll see where this story goes next)

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And then there was this time I did this triathlon…

So running wasn’t my thing.  What next?  I had taken a barre class in the past, and a kickboxing class, and really liked those.  But I knew realistically I didn’t want to join a gym.  We had been members of one previously and just never went.  Yes, they had great classes.  Yes, they had childcare.  Yes, they had a pool.  No, we didn’t have the discipline to get off our arses and get there.  But I knew I liked to swim, and I had a 5K under my belt.  Maybe I’d like a triathlon!  My cousin does tri’s, and that sounded like fun.  She was actually doing an all women sprint triathlon soon with some friends, so I invited myself in, signed up, paid my money…..and then realized I didn’t have a bike.  Not only did I not own a bicycle, I hadn’t ridden one in, oh, about 20 years.  I didn’t really like running, and didn’t have a bike or pool to practice in, so I didn’t really train.  I did pay a day pass at the gym and did the distances in the pool, a treadmill, and a stationary bike to see if it was even in the realm of possibility.  I finished them, so I figured maybe I could cross the finish line.  I borrowed a bike and showed up to the GORGEOUS resort it was being held at.  And I finished!  And I hated it!  And I’ve already signed up for next year!  I really had fun at the experience.  There’s a water park at the resort the kids loved, it’s a swanky place that was fun to stay overnight at.  And I got to hang out with some really cool ladies.  But I was just so bored with all the running and bike riding.  The swim part was fun, but the rest was a drag.  However, I’m super proud of myself for finishing, and now I can add triathlete to me resume.  Things were looking up!  (This is me on the left.  I hope my cousin doesn’t mind that I put her picture on the internet :))

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‘Now Whip It. Into Shape.’

So I had decided I needed to whip myself in shape.  Find an outlet.  See myself as something different.  But what?  My husband is a runner and has been wanting me to run also so it could be a family thing.  We’ve put my daughter in a few ‘kids fun runs’ at my husband’s races and she really enjoyed it.  She showed some interest in doing ‘grown up’ races and not just the kids’ ones.  And it was late December when everyone is thinking about their New Years Resolutions, so what better time than to start a Couch to 5K program.  I wasn’t super excited about the thought of running, but I thought I owed it to my husband to give it the ‘ole college try.  And then if I hated it, at least he’d know I gave it my best effort.

So Avery and I did most of a Couch to 5K program, and then we ran a 5K.  It was a race along the Riverwalk in downtown San Antonio.  My husband did the half-marathon and we did the 5K.  The 3 of us stayed in a hotel downtown while my mom watched the rest of the kids.  It was a fun family experience.  And guess what?  I hated it!  The running part of it, that is.  She got tired about 1 mile in, and didn’t get her second wind until about 100 yards from the finish line because she knew we’d get donuts at the end.  I had to drag her through the majority of the 5 miles.  And I was just bored to tears the whole time.  I find running to be dreadfully boring.  I don’t get it.  It’s definitely not my thing.  But now I can say I’ve done a 5K, Avery isn’t asking to do anymore ‘grown up races’, and I was back at square one.

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In the Beginning…

Everybody sing with me…”Let’s start at the very beginniiiiiiiing, a very good plaaaace to staaaart.  When you sing you begin with do.rei.me, when you decide to become a ninja warrior, you start a blog.”  Hmmmm, now that I say it outloud, I’m not sure it’s word for word what Maria sang in The Sound of Music, but I’m sure the Von Trapps were a ninja family all the same.

It’s been a busy few weeks, and I need to get all the beginning stuff out of the way so I can start to keep this thing up to date.  I can’t just jump in with ‘I’m having a really crappy day with all this diet and exercise’, if you have no idea what diet and exercise I’m doing.  But, (spoiler alert!), I’m having a really crappy day with all this diet and exercise.

I’ve watched American Ninja Warrior on and off since Season 1.  I’ve always been a fan.  But until very recently I didn’t ever think it was something I could do.  That wasn’t on my radar.  I thought of it as a cool thing that guys in their 20’s did.  When the show started, I wasn’t a guy (still not, actually), but now that we’re on season 9, I’m also not in my 20’s.

Almost 8 months ago exactly, I had my beautiful twin girls.  My husband and I, at one point thinking we were never going to be able to have kids at all, went from a family of 4 to a family of 6.  God has blessed us with 4 amazing children, in 5 years.  4 kids in our house, aged 5 and under.  Do you see where I’m going here?  It’s controlled chaos at all times, give or take the control part.

After I had the twins, I really felt like I wanted to do something to feel like myself again. I’ve been blessed with amazing genes, so it wasn’t so much about getting my body back, per se, but it was about feeling like myself again. Like I belonged in my body. The pregnancy was very challenging, and I was feeling like all my parts were a bit separate, a swirl of hormones.  They had all been working together to build these 2 amazing humans, but after they were born my different pieces felt a bit disjointed, like they didn’t quite belong together, and didn’t know what to do with themselves now that that job was done.

I have never been an exerciser. I actually hate to sweat. But I thought I needed some activity. Although I’ve almost always been thin-ish, I’ve never really been ‘in shape’. I was definitely unhealthy.  I have eaten a horrible diet for most of my life, and the older I get, the more I feel it weighing me down.

I also wanted to do something for myself.  I had been feeling very caught up in the mundane.  Being a mom is an amazing job, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.  But there were only so many diapers I could change and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches I could make before I started to lose myself.  I felt like I needed to find an outlet just for me.  Something to be proud of myself about.  Something that showed me that being a mom isn’t the only facet of my life left.  As amazing as it is, it can sometimes take over your life and you don’t see yourself as anything else.  I looked in the mirror and saw a haggard, exhausted old lady, wearing sweats and covered in a combination of puke, snot, and something that was probably yesterday’s jelly.  And I couldn’t see any part of the ambitious, lively, hopeful young person I used to be.  TIME TO CHANGE ALL THAT!!

So is that when I decided to be a ninja?  Nope!  Stay tuned…