Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Good vs. Best

Okay. Confession time.

I am a little bit of a perfectionist.

True confession...actually I should probably take out the "little bit."

Do you know anyone like this? I actually think there are quite a lot of us out there. (hmmm...type A triathletes???)

I don't think having perfectionist tendencies is all bad, but I do think as a perfectionist a person needs to be aware of how limiting perfection is. The fact of the matter is that nobody on this earth is perfect. No matter how hard I work or how hard I try, I will never, ever achieve perfection in this life. If that is what I am shooting for each day, each and every day I will fail, so I will be okay with not being perfect every day.

And that is perfectly fine.

One of my favorite quotes of all time is, "There is no way to be a perfect mother but a million ways to be a good one." (Jill Churchill)

We can take this quote and recreate it in a thousand different ways:

  • There is no way to have a perfect diet but a million ways to have a good one.
  • There is no way to have a perfect body but a million ways to have a good one.
  • There is no way to be perfect at your job..
and on and on.

The point of this is that I think a lot of us (read: me) pass over good in our efforts for best. 

"I was doing so good today and then I had a cookie, so I might as well forget the rest of the day."

"I don't have time or energy to exercise today, so I might as well go all in and eat whatever I want."

Don't get me wrong, I am always striving for best. I want to live my life with excellence, not average-ness. However, let's not pass over good if we can't get to best. 

Some days good is enough and good is all we need. And lots and lots of good days add up to best, if you ask me.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Is there enough time?

Let me tell you a story about a trampoline.

We bought a trampoline for Noah's birthday last month. It did not come in time because I didn't order it until too late. Once it was here, Kel and I started upon the task of putting it together. There was one particularly tedious step where I had to "sew" the safety enclosure to the trampoline part with what is basically a very long shoe string. As I was doing it, something seemed not quite right, so I took another look at the (very bad) directions and decided that I was doing it like it said. It took me about an hour to get the whole thing done and right as I was completing the last loop Kel came out and looked at it. He said, "I hate to tell you this, but this is wrong. You are going to have to do the whole thing again." I looked at it and realized he was right and pretty much felt like I was going to cry. Once again, something not only takes me longer than I think, but twice as long as it should. Not only did I have to do it all again, but I would have to "unsew" the work that I had done.

My thoughts went something like this:

  • "Why me?"
  • "This always happens."
  • "Why does everything have to take so long?"
  • "This is SO NOT what I want to be spending what little time I have on!"
Then, as I started to undo all the work that I had just spent so many of my valuable moments on, I had a moment of clarity in my thinking about time. What would happen if I started living in a way that I felt I had an abundance of time - all the time I needed, in fact? What can I do or think or say differently to feel the release of time rather than the constraints of time? These thoughts led me down a path of reflection and research over the next few weeks that have been very revealing to me.

What is time?
  • currency, money
  • something to give
  • a tool
  • a luxury - although I have since realized I don't want to think of time in this way
  • a necessity
  • a burden or a limiter - again, I don't think it has to be 

What do I want for myself in the area of time/
  • I want to feel less hurried all the time.
  • I want things to feel more relaxed and less urgent.
  • I want to be on time without having to freak out.
  • I want to trust my wn instincts when it comes to time.
  • I want to use time wisely, but not miserly.
  • I want to have moments where I flow free of time.
  • I want to keep my brain from calculating time all the time.
  • I want to be able to see time in a positive way - as a gift rather than a curse.
As I plunged into these questions and thoughts about time I began to identify some of my core problems. I tend to get stuff I need to do done, but I don't spend very much time on stuff I want to get done. Things take me longer because I am not very efficient - productivity is definitely an issue for me. And the most revealing issue I realized is that I don't always know what I want to get done!  How the heck am I supposed to be productive and feel creative if I don't even know what I want to get done?

I also put on my thinking cap and read a few books and a lot of stuff online about different systems of efficiency and productivity. There were a couple that really stood out to me, particularly, The Four-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris and Getting Things Done by David Allen. Here are a few of the gems I got out of these books:
  • Less is not laziness. Focus on being productive instead of busy. (Ferris)
  • Lack of time is actually lack of priorities. (Ferris)
  • If this is the only thing I accomplish today, will I be satisfied with my day? (Ferris)
  • What you do with your time, what you do with your information, and what you do with your body and your focus relative to your priorities--those are the real option to which you must allocate your limited resources. The real issue is how to make appropriate choices about what to do at any point in time. The real issue is how we manage actions. (Allen)
Allen also talks a lot about having a system to get things out of your head so you are not constantly trying to remember everything. This really hit home with me. I feel like I have a stream of anxiety that I am forgetting something almost all the time. That cannot be healthy!

So since productivity is about doing, what have I done? Well, using the Getting Things Done method along with Evernote and a wonderful tutorial called The Secret Weapon, I have developed a system of processing and doing all the stuff that is in my head, and, man, oh man, is that a lot of stuff. It's early days still, but I am really liking the space in my head that getting everything out of it has created. 

The other thing I am doing is having a daily intention of Creative Flow. I am giving myself the freedom to flow around the things I must get done. I am making a conscious effort to enjoy my kids and let go of stress with deep breathing and meditation. And I am living in the belief that I have more than enough time to do everything that really needs to get done. If it doesn't get done, than it didn't need to get done!

I did finish the sewing the trampoline together and while I did it I let it become a meditation of its own. In and out and up and down. Breathing, being in the moment, feeling the sun on my skin and the warm breeze through my hair, stopping to take a sip of coffee and stretch my arms and smile at the thought of seeing my kids flying high through the air once it was finished. Yes. There is exactly enough time to do the things that need to get done.

"Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do."
~John Wooden

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

#Project30Days July Update and August Projects

I know I said this a couple of posts ago, but I can't believe how fast this summer is flying by!! I'm happy to report that I am getting a lot done. I have a lot of projects and ideas I'm working on right now, so it seems like every minute is spent either doing or thinking!

My July #project30days projects were hit and miss. One of them was to put my phone down while I am in the car. I would say I was about 95% with this one. It's a toughie, and something I am continuing to work on!! In bed by 9:30 was not such a success, but just thinking about getting in bed a little bit earlier was helpful to get myself headed up. I would say with a few exceptions I was in bed by 10 and asleep by 10:15 or so. Still not great, but, hey, I'm a work in progress right? And finally, to do what I say I'm going to do, I did a very good job at. The main thing that project helped me with was to stop and think before I actually say yes to things. Wow...what a revelation! ;)

So onward to August(ish). I will have just one project this month, because I am still definitely focusing on the early to bed although with a little more flexibility and the no phone in the car (rigidly). Sometimes when I am thinking about these projects the ones I KNOW I should be doing are the ones I am the most hesitant to commit to. It's funny how fear can be a big indicator of the direction into which we should head!

My August #project30days has a word in it that I have never been crazy about: meditation. Aack!! It just scares me! It's all new-age-y and woo-woo. I have to sit still...for multiple minutes in a row! I have to breathe deeply and let go! I have to close my eyes and relax! OMG!!

Seriously, though, I think a big part of my hesitation to use this word (I've been calling it quiet reflection for about 4 months now) is the connotation that it brings up for me. As a Christian I think there is also this feeling that "meditation" is somehow not right, not aligned with Christian principles. However, when I look up meditate in the Bible, clearly David was someone who spent a lot of time in meditation. Isn't it interesting that one of the most poetic books of the Bible was written by a man who spent a lot of time in meditation? One of my favorite verses is Psalm 46:10, "Be still and know that I am God." I think I need to listen to that and just settle down and be still for a few minutes a day.

And so I will embrace fully the word and the action of meditation this month. My goal is to meditate at least 5 minutes a day and also to have little mini-breathing breaks throughout the day. I want to stay connected and centered. So far I've done it for 4 days running and I'm feeling pretty good! One of the things I have found is that I have to let go of performance and judgment. There is no wrong way to meditate. If I fall asleep or drift off while I'm doing it, that's perfectly fine. If I start to get antsy after 10 minutes and decide I'm done, that is okay.

I'm very curious if any of you practice a sort of deliberate daily meditation? Please chime in with your thoughts if you do or if you don't or if you have tried? What worked? What didn't? Let's learn from each other!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Strong Body Whole Heart


Drum roll please!!!!

I am so excited to share with you my latest project! Strong Body Whole Heart will be a weekly audio podcast hosted by me and my wonderful friend, Maggie. This is something we have been working on for several months that just came out of a lunch conversation one day. I have wanted to do a podcast for a long time, but just wasn't sure how I would go about doing it or who I would do it with, then Maggie said during lunch in a random statement, "We should totally have a radio show," and that was it.

Strong Body Whole Heart was born.

This podcast is going to be about what we call whole body health, being healthy in mind, body and spirit. To best understand where we are coming from you can just take a look at the mission statement we developed.

Our Strong Body Whole Heart Mission Statement


  • to inspire and nurture whole body health through spiritual, emotional and physical transformation.


How do we live that?


Passion


  • We are passionate about reaching out to help others feel inspired and supported.


Transparency


  • We are willing to reveal our own successes and struggles in our lives.


Acknowledgement


  • We endeavor each day to honor who we are in the present and all we can become.


Happiness


  • We look for joy in small moments and we approach the messiness of life with grace and a smile (most of the time, anyway).



I really think all of this will speak to a lot of people!!

We are hoping to kick off our first episode sometime in October, but in the meantime we have a lot of work to do, and this is where you come in. Please take a minute to check out our Indiegogo campaign by clicking here. We are raising money to buy equipment and cover the costs for a year's worth of weekly audio podcasts. Even just a few dollars can make a difference! Another thing you can do is SHARE!! Please share this campaign with your friends and family if you think it is something that will make a difference in people's lives.

The link to share is:  http://igg.me/at/strongbodywholeheart/x/4122440

You could also tweet it to the world or Facebook to your friends by saying:

Help bring Strong Body Whole Heart to life! Support this new podcast about whole body health! http://igg.me/at/strongbodywholeheart/x/4122440

Speaking of facebook, those of you who follow me have probably already seen our Strong Body Whole Heart facebook page, but if you haven't liked us, please do! We are putting up a lot of great inspirational content each day and it's a great way to keep up with all of our news and happenings as we go through this process.

Thank you so much for supporting me in this new endeavor! I'm excited to see what it will bring!!


Friday, August 2, 2013

Musselman Race Report

Two weeks ago on Sunday, I raced one of my favorite local races, the Musselman. It is a half distance and was actually the first half I ever raced. I went into this race feeling super strong and prepared and just KNEW I was going to finally go under 6 hours at this distance. Last year my time was 6:01, so I knew I had it in me to do it.

I felt super strong in the very calm waters of the swim. Kel was racing too, so I had a good luck kiss before I went out and knew he was in the wave behind me. My hope was to hold him off until I got quite a few miles into the bike. My goal during the swim was to swim an 8 out of 10 in terms of intensity for the duration. I did just that, with really good sighting, and was very pleased overall with my effort. My time (which I can't find right now because the results page is not loading) was right around where it usually is for this distance which is about 36 minutes. It seems like no matter what I do, this is about my limit. That's all good...I loved this swim and was very happy with it.

My goal on the bike was to push and push HARD. I had some pretty specific HR zones I was shooting for and once I got settled in I realized that due to the intense heat and humidity of the day (naturally) I was going to be way over those. Oh well...I went for it. I knew there was a risk, but I am at a place in this distance where I am ready to start taking some chances. I was super happy with this ride. I averaged a little over 18 mph, and the whole time I thought it was a PR for this distance but later I realized I was just a bit shy of what I rode last year. However, I'm pretty sure I rode this as hard as I could on the day (the very, very hot and humid day...).

The goal for the run was the same as for the bike, don't be afraid to go hard and take chances. The run is always my weakness (and something I am resolved to work on over the off-season), but even though I might not be super fast, I can run for a long time! I went hard. I actually negative split this course, and of that I am supremely proud. I passed a LOT of people that were walking,  I put a LOT of ice down my bra, I made a LOT of jokes on the course (I might have offered some walking guys ice out of my bra if they started running), and I ran hard, hard, hard the whole way. I am supremely proud of my effort and truly felt that I left everything on the course that day. I am also proud of my positive attitude and mindfulness of how lucky I am to be able to do what I do. The last few miles I started to get a little freaked out because I was actually getting a little chilled even though it was in the 90s. I knew I was very close to being past the point of no return in terms of body heat, but I felt okay otherwise, so I just went for it and decided to enjoy feeling cooler than I expected.

As I went into the last mile, I knew I would be really close to 6 hours. Through the chute I went with Ryan at my side and I can honestly say I was shocked to see 6:03 on the clock. I really thought I had done it and had to squash down the wave of disappointment that ran through me. (This was helped greatly by the wave of nausea that overcame me as I sat down on a chair at the finish line...). I actually contemplated heading over to the med tent because I was still feeling really cold, but after a 5 minute rest at the finish line I decided I was probably okay.

The rest of the afternoon was kind of a blur because Kel, who had finished a little before me (yep, he passed me around mile 14 of the bike), was really cramping and ended up in the med tent for 2 IVs! I ended up having to get all of our stuff into the car while wrangling our kids (our babysitter had to leave right after we finished). Once we were all in the car, I was back to not feeling so great and was just really relieved to be home.

After really reviewing my HR data and my effort over this course on this day, I have decided that this is probably my gutsiest race ever. I am beyond proud of what I did out there two weeks ago. Surprisingly, I was faster in the swim and run this year, but the bike was what kept me from going under 6! I don't know the exact numbers but overall and in my age group I ranked much higher than last year, so if I take into account the hot and humid conditions (did I mention it was really hot?), my performance was right where it should have been. I call this race a HUGE success!! And that goes to show AGAIN that there is a lot more to the story of each race than the numbers!!

I cannot write this race report without speaking to the fact that during the Musselman weekend, two athletes were fatally injured while racing. My heart goes out to the families of these fellow triathletes. I think we were all affected by the events because even if we didn't know them, they were one of us. Once again it reminded me that I am so blessed to be alive, so blessed to be doing something I love, and it renewed my commitment to live each day to its fullest.

Next up for me is the flat and fast HalfRev at Cedar Point! I can't wait!!

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