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Monday, April 24, 2017

Triathlon Training with a Bum Shoulder

This weekend I took the first step toward triathlon training and participated in a 3-hour swimming workshop focusing on technique and drills that should be the cornerstone of how I am to prepare for a half-mile swim. To sum it up: I'm a decent freestyle swimmer, but my breaststroke is so bad that I look like I need a lifeguard to blow a whistle and tell me I'm cut off. Until I took this workshop, I thought I was proficient enough in all four strokes. Nope. Not even close.

Actual photo of me trying not to drown after three hours of
I have a shoulder injury that has been bugging me for nine years and counting, and I was relieved that the swimming neither bothered it nor did I feel any increased shoulder pain when I woke up this morning. My physical therapist friend took a look at it recently and confirmed it's in pretty bad shape, but unfortunately, there's not much I can do other than maintain flexibility and mobility until I'm ready to make peace with the idea of a surgeon cutting into one of the most important joints in my body. Surgery poses its own risks, though, so that is absolutely a last resort for me. For now, on the bad days I just live with chronic pain and take Ibuprofen when it flares up to the point where I can't sleep. On the good days, I barely notice it.

Extended Forearm Stand
Mother of Pearl Cami and Rockstar Shorts by INKnBURN
I'm sure it doesn't help that I spend a disproportionate amount of time practicing circus tricks like the pose above, but the yoga really helps keep my shoulder strong and flexible with careful, controlled movement. As long as my arm moves up toward my ear, I don't feel pain. I have to be careful with certain movements when opening my arm out wide and rotating it around from the joint. This might be part of the reason I find breaststroke particularly miserable. 

Two swimming sessions per week for the next few months was my coach's recommendation to be ready for my targeted triathlon. It's going to take some schedule-wrestling for me to work this into my weekly workout plan. Don't even get me started on the fact that I still have to 1) get a bike; and 2) actually ride it. 

The last time I rode a bike I was in Germany for the summer sometime in college. I may or may not have fallen off the bike in front of a ton of people while trying to navigate my way off a ferry, and there may have been more than one person laughing at me. This was before smart phones, thank goodness; otherwise, I'm fairly certain I would have ended up an internet meme sensation. 

Monday, April 17, 2017

Monday Humor: Don't Be This Yogi

I love Mondays because my favorite yoga instructor teaches a power vinyasa class in the late evenings. Every time I attend her class, I walk out of the hot room with my entire body feeling like putty. While I enjoy my quiet, at-home yoga practice (which is particularly great this time of year because the warmer temperatures mean I can do yoga in my backyard), nothing beats the dimly-lit 105° room filled with mirrors that prove I am capable of sweating enough to drown myself in the massive amount of sweat I produce in the span of one measly hour. Honestly, I think the amount of liquid pouring from my body during a good yoga session has the power to scare small children and grown adults alike.
Basic Side Angle Pose; Sarape Top and Skirt by INKnBURN
But that disgusting note aside, I had this comical set of thoughts rolling through my mind yesterday as I flew from Phoenix back to Seattle after a quick, whirlwind family reunion weekend. As a stupidly anxious flier (even though I *know* I'm safe), I usually have to pull out an entire bag of tricks to keep any looming anxiety attacks at bay. The flight was bumpy, and James got hit with what we think is a case of food poisoning just before boarding, so he was either busy accosting the single lavatory in the back of the small jet or writhing in agony in the window seat next to me. It was bad enough that I can't even make a joke about the dreaded MANCOLD.

In short, I had to occupy my hyperactive mind with a stupid movie that I won't bother naming, a glass of wine, and a list of my favorite yoga pet peeves, which I'd like to share:

  1. The vocal yogi. You know which one I'm talking about. It's the person who moans and groans during every move. I find the moaning particularly annoying. Look, it's tough. I get it. But if you must be vocal, limit the use of noise to a few per practice or find a yoga place not specifically advertised as a "silent" room.
  2. The I-am-so hot yogi. You know, the one checking themselves out in the mirror during every single pose. The occasional glance to check one's form is fine. The gawking is a little overboard, especially when duck face is involved. 
  3. The let-me-take-a-selfie to show off how awesome I am yogi. Oops... I might be this one *cough*. Just not during class. Does it make it a little more bearable if I can make fun of myself? #sorrynotsorry
  4. The smelly yogi. None of us smells particularly fresh during yoga practice in humid, triple-digit temperatures. That said, if I can smell your B.O. from six feet away, you need to pay more attention to your personal hygiene. We're supposed to be breathing through our noses during practice. Don't make this more difficult than it already is. Namaste. 
  5. The over-extender yogi. You know who I'm talking about... the person who can sloppily make their way into an extended pose while skipping the basic just to prove they can do it, then they look around to make sure everyone sees them doing it. I sheepishly admit that I have been this person, and trust me, it's way cooler and much better practice if you surrender the ego, slow down, and breathe into each part of the pose before taking it to the next level with control. It can be even more impressive if you skip the extended pose and focus on having a strong and properly-aligned basic. #liveandlearn
  6. The close-quarters yogi. I have personal space issues, so nothing annoys me more in the hot room than when someone lays their mat down too close to mine. I'm fine with having close neighbors during busy classes, but if there's plenty of room, there's no need to be bunkbed mates. I like to extend my arms without bumping into other people, and I have freakishly long arms. 
  7. The gawker non-yogi. I rarely see this happen (thank goodness), but I always find it irritating when I see someone in there checking out all of us in our yoga tights. Don't be the guy or gal who goes to yoga with the intention of finding a date. We're there to practice yoga, not to have our backside checked out by a creeper. 
  8. The farting yogi. Yup, I went there. One little slip is a forgivable offense, and I especially can't hate on postpartum moms because I know how rough it is having babies. If you let more than one rip, though, I hope you have the good sense to avoid eating chili, broccoli, and onions before going to your next class. If you feel a toot coming on, fake feeling spent and peacefully drop down into a relaxing tight-cheeked pose until the urge passes to let it blow.
  9. The sick yogi. Look, if you're suffering from a little sinus pressure or some sniffles, I totally understand how therapeutic and medicinal sweating through a hot yoga class can be. However, if a massive amount of snot is draining out of your face, you're coughing up a tuberculosis-infected lung, or you're running a fever, please stay home. Don't be that jerk who gets all of us sick. You never know which one of us is a teacher or new mom or has a compromised immune system or an elderly parent at home, and exposing us to your infectious disease is just flat-out irresponsible. Stay home, drink some hot soup, and call your doctor. Don't be the sick yogi in class. Just don't.
  10. The judgmental yogi. You know, that person who is supposed to be focusing on their practice, but they're secretly noticing the groaning, farting, body-odor and coughing peeps around them and plotting writing a blog post about it... #BUSTED 😂  
With all that said, my ego has calmed down extensively during the last few years of practicing yoga. While I used to always notice everyone around me, I rarely feel distracted by others these days. Instead, I really try to focus on the breath as I'm supposed to, and if I'm not feeling an extended pose, I stick to the basic one. It makes for a much more peaceful and rewarding practice.

Dancer Pose
Fire Rooster Top and Feather Capris by INKnBURN
Happy Monday! And if it's not a happy one, try adding some yoga to your day.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Spring Break Outdoor Shenanigans

My girls had Spring Break last week, so I spent the last several days trying to keep them off the screens and out of the house as much as possible. It never ceases to amaze me how much their moods improve once I get them outside.

Trials = Happy Faces!
We live less than a ten-minute drive to some of the most beautiful mountain trails, so last week we braved the rain and mud and went for a few-mile hike paired with my daughters' first trail running experience. While they are no strangers to hiking, we have never actually taken them trail running before because for some reason I thought it'd be too much for them. I was wrong.

Yes... their shoes are almost as big as mine. 
The trail is steep, so we hiked to the topmost part then carefully ran through the slippery mud on the way back. My girls loved it and seemed to find it as fun and enjoyable as I do.

While I was raised hiking most weekends by my outdoorsy parents, I never tried trail running until I joined my high school cross country team. Of course, with an undiagnosed heart issue I was a terrible runner, and I found the trails particularly challenging but intriguing. A couple years ago when I joined a running group, though, one of the coaches took me out onto the very trail pictured above and talked me through how to survive running through the mountains. I've been hooked since.

Recently, someone asked for advice because she is considering trail running. I gave her my two cents, but after thinking about it, I have a lot more to add. Here's a short list of some valuable lessons I have learned:

  1. Start slowly. Don't worry about how long it takes to complete each mile. You might run an 8-minute road mile and a 14-minute trail mile, and that's okay. Give yourself permission to run slowly. If you feel great halfway through, then you can pick up the pace. 
  2. Be a little over-prepared. Sometimes that 7-mile run turns into an 11-mile run. Always bring extra water, some bandaids, and an energy gel or bar.
  3. Hike the uphills. There's no reason to torture yourself. Hiking up those hills can be faster than trying to run up them while preserving your energy and keeping your heart rate reasonable.
  4. Get a backpack-style or an around-the-hip hydration pack. I love my handheld water bottle, but having the water attached to my body is so much more comfortable when I'm on the trails. It also leaves my hands free for when I stumble or need to hold onto a branch for stability. 
  5. There's no shame in needing a buddy. Some people love solo mountain running. That's awesome. I am not that person. I'm a total scaredy-cat and feel much safer with other humans nearby, even if it's just my two daughters. I'm more afraid of people than anything the mountains have to offer, but I really believe there is no shame in recruiting a running buddy.
  6. Take smaller steps. This is a good running tip in general, but I find it to be critical when trail running. Keeping your feet under your body is especially helpful in maintaining balance on rocky, uneven ground.
  7. Know the trail before you go. Map out that trail before you venture into the woods. Save a photo of the map on your phone in case you get lost mid-run. It happens to the best of us.
  8. Tell a friend where you plan to run. Safety 101. Obviously. 
  9. Trail shoes aren't a necessity. Don't get me wrong, I love my trail running shoes; they're more rugged, have better grip, and handle mud well. However, it's okay to run trails in your normal running shoes, too. If I'm running a trail race or longer route, I wear my trail shoes. If I'm only running a few miles, I often opt for a pair of running shoes I'm about to retire. They're usually a little more supportive and cushy. 
  10. Wear wool socks. I've made the mistake of wearing regular running socks on trails multiple times, and I always want to kick myself when I do. When it's 30-something degrees and you step in a puddle of near-freezing mud and water, your numb feet will spend the remainder of the run screaming at you. When you plow through a small creek because there is no other alternative, those Smartwool socks will maintain their shape and keep your feet from blistering. Been there, done that, learned my lesson. Just trust me on this.
  11. Respect your comfort zone, but don't be afraid to challenge it. I find trails to be a unique opportunity to trust myself to go further and harder than I've ever considered going. There's a good chance that I'll sign up for a mountain marathon before doing a road one simply because I feel less afraid to challenge myself on trails than I do on the road. 
  12. Pause and enjoy the ride. Trail running is beautiful. I've ran through rainforests and deserts, and both are equally rewarding. When fatigue begins to settle in, I love to give myself a boost by slowing down, drinking some water, and taking in the beautiful surroundings. 
Me in my happy place.
Capris and Hoodie by INKnBURN

Monday, March 27, 2017

Training Pitfall: Overdoing It

A friend of mine dealing with a reoccurring injury recently reminded me of a common fitness and dietary pitfall that I have felt myself fall into on more than one occasion: overdoing it.

How often do we find ourselves becoming excited and feeling pumped about a new diet or exercise, begin it with a bang, and fall off the wagon a few days or weeks into our new trend due to injury or just the inability to continue doing something so drastically different than what we were doing before?

I have always prided myself on being the type of person who is dedicated enough to stick by a new "thing" I decide to adopt. When my friend dragged me to a hot yoga class for the first time, I did it with the understanding that if I found it to be a challenging yet positive experience, it was going to become part of my life. When the same friend convinced me to get off my lazy bum and start running to train for a half marathon, it took me a couple of weeks to commit because I knew that if I was going to run that race, I was also going to stick with running until my legs or my heart give out. Or, you know, until I get hit by a speeding bus... whichever happens first. The truth is, I always wanted to be a runner, but I was afraid of it after being such a weak teammate on my high school track and cross country teams. Learning that I have a minor heart issue, which limits my speed, was a frustrating diagnosis, but it also shed light on why I struggled with running so much when I was younger despite how hard I trained. It also lit a fire in me to press on in the face of adversity.

Yoga and running were both activities that, because I knew I was going to stick with them, I took the "slow and steady wins the race" approach. I started with a once per week beginning hot power yoga class. Even though I wanted to race to the top because it was something I felt my years of dance and background of martial arts made it possible for me to learn quickly, I forced myself to take my time. I didn't go daily. I let the next-day burn in my muscles simmer until I walked it off. I spent time trying to understand how each pose worked, how to modify as a beginner, and months later, I added a second hot yoga class each week. I added running to the mix a few months after I felt like I was getting the hang of yoga, and I started with a 3x/week walk/jog method that eventually turned into a slow run.
I wish I had a "before" photo for comparison. I have
come a long way in the three years I have been
practicing yoga.
Sakura Singlet and Mejiro Shorts by INKnBURN.
Despite knowing that this slow approach usually brings me to what I consider success in a new endeavor, I'd like to share two recent "I failed because I overdid it" examples: 1) I fell off the "Iron Strength for Runners" cliff (remember that post from months ago?); and 2) I didn't make it through my March core workout goal. Not even close. When both of these "oops, I fell off the wagon" examples happened, I felt more apathetic about my failures than I would expect. Considering how driven I normally feel when I set a goal for myself, I was kind of irritated by my own nonchalance. Especially because both goals were something I committed to as necessary cross-training for Ragnar and the potential triathlon I may do this year.

Delving deeper into this attitude, I realized something that seems rather obvious now: when I jump into a new activity full-force rather than taking my time, it is because my expectations are out of alignment with reality. I am expecting immediate results despite knowing that they are both rare and unsustainable without constant maintenance, and my practice is ego-driven rather than coming from a place of desiring true self-improvement. I want to look and feel the end result without committing to the good, bad, and ugly of the practice necessary to achieve the goal. When this is my mindset, I will inevitably fail.

True change takes time, commitment, character, and a letting go of the ego that often drives us. With this in mind, I realize now that the only way to become stronger is to start over. Rather than doing the full 60-minute Iron Strength workout or the daily core strengthening workout, I need to back off and start slow.

"When ego is lost, limit is lost. You become infinite, kind, beautiful."
                        - Yogi Bhajan
New goals:

  1. Iron Strength workout for 20 minutes once per week until it becomes habit, then slowly increase.
  2. Forget about adding a separate core workout for now. Cover that workout with yoga practice and Iron Strength instead.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Product Review: INKnBURN Long-Sleeved Pullovers

In celebration of SPRING(!!!) I have to give a shout-out to my favorite active wear company for making the perfect cold-weather top that has accompanied me on nearly every winter run I did during this last (very long) cold winter: INKnBURN Pullovers.

Wildflower, Lotus, Crane, and Monarch Pullovers
I don't like to be cold, but I've also learned my lesson when I dress too warmly and wind up miserable and feeling overheated when I run. This winter, I discovered that INKnBURN's Pullovers are the perfect balance of warm, breathable, moisture-wicking, and comfortable in addition to being gorgeous works of art.

Feeding my addiction to bright colors!
My first pullover was Crane, which I ordered after checking the weather for the Tucson Half Marathon and saw that it was going to be much colder than I had anticipated. At first glance, I thought the colors and design were a little patch-work-looking with just a touch of quirkiness, but the reviews were extremely positive, so I decided to give it a try. Spoiler: Even though you're not supposed to wear something new on race day, it was love at first wear and I ended up being ecstatic about the colors and artwork.
Happy "I PR'd" Dance!
After my Tucson Half Marathon PR, I was hooked. Soon after, Monarch and Lotus arrived.

And now I might need a support group, because last week Wildflower joined the party:

Good thing I didn't face plant. That would have hurt.
Confession: I may or may not have ordered another one during their moving sale last week because, you know, I clearly needed more. *cough*

Okay, so I realize I'm a little ridiculous with my Pullover Addiction, but here's why I can't seem to get enough of them besides the obvious of how beautiful and fun the colors and designs are:
  1. The material and craftsmanship is top-notch. The inside fabric is incredibly soft and very cozy-feeling against my sensitive skin, and it never leaves me with chafing. I'm one of those unfortunate people who ends up with rashes and chafing any time fabric touches me, so active wear clothing must be made with quality fabrics, and seams have to be flat and made with soft stitching for me to be comfortable. 
    Look at that perfect seam and soft fabric!
  2. They're amazingly versatile. I wear them for running, hiking, taking walks, as a skiing base layer, grocery shopping, as my shirt for the day regardless of activity, and for sitting on cold bleachers with a cup of coffee while watching my daughter compete in early morning gymnastics meets. 
  3. They have thumbholes! I am a huge fan of thumbholes because I like to have the backs of my hands covered in cool weather, and I appreciate that they keep the cold air from blowing up my arms while running in the wind. The sleeves are fitted enough that they slide under gloves without bunching and are stretchy enough that they fit over gloves if I prefer to wear them that way. Bonus: I can read my watch through the hole if I choose not to use the thumbholes. 

    I regularly check my distance this way.
  4. The arms are long enough for me. I am long-limbed, and I'm finicky about where sleeves hit on my wrists. Because of the thumbholes, these tops have ample arm length. 
  5. More than one size fits. I absolutely love this about INKnBURN - most people can wear more than one size in just about every piece they make. All of their clothing is stretchy, so you can almost always size up or down. I wear a small in their regular tops, but I like to size up to a medium in the pullovers because I frequently wear a base layer underneath. I love that even though the bigger size is roomy, it's cut so that it doesn't look bulky or awkward on me.
  6. They layer beautifully. Sometimes I wear these alone, other times I wear a Smartwool base layer or tank underneath. Unlike some running pullovers, I've never had an issue with these riding up or bunching awkwardly during motion. They also fit nicely under a running jacket and under hydration packs. The material is smooth and not bulky at all, so it doesn't catch on other fabrics worn over it. 
  7. The back is always just as beautiful and artistic as the front! I am always disappointed when tops have a pretty design on the front and a plain, boring color on the back. I never have that problem when I wear one of of my INKnBURN pullovers!
    Wildflower Rear View
  8. These tops wash incredibly well. Each of my pullovers gets worn for a workout at least once a week, and I wash them after every use. The fabric does not fade, and every one of them looks and feels like it did when it first arrived. Seriously, they look brand new. Considering I run double-digit miles through mountains in these tops, that's pretty amazing. Bonus: they wash clean and none have that funky armpit smell problem like some tech fabrics get after multiple washes. For the record, I use Nathan Sport-Wash for all my active wear. 
  9. They stay put. I get easily irritated when I have to tug on my clothing to keep it in place mid-run. Recently, I did a demo run in a long-sleeve top (in a brand that shall remain unnamed) that kept shifting around and left me readjusting it every few minutes. I was so annoyed. However, the experience left me that much more grateful when I wore one of my pullovers on my next run and I forgot that I was wearing it because it was so comfortable and stayed in place. 
  10. The fabric is moisture-wicking and breathes. Last week I went for a tempo run on a sunny day with temps in the mid-to-upper 50s, and I really should have been wearing a short-sleeve shirt because those temperatures feel downright warm with the sun beating down after a cold winter. Stubbornly, I wore my new Wildflower Pullover because it had just arrived. I warmed up quickly, but I could feel the cool breeze through my top and my body temperature stayed regulated. I was surprised by the end of my mileage that I wasn't very sweaty and that I'd felt comfortable even in the warmer weather. 
If you're wondering where you can get one of these amazing tops, check out the INKnBURN website. They make them for both women and men, and there are still some in stock in a couple of the patterns. If your size isn't available, keep checking back for new apparel. It is a small company and their products are not mass-produced so there is limited inventory, but they come out with new tops and bottoms all the time. If you happen to purchase one of their products, let them know I sent you. As I've mentioned before, I am an Ambassador for the company and I love getting the word out!
Happy yoga girl! It's finally warming up a little!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Tips for Remaining Active in Gloomy and Rainy Weather

The Seattle area has a reputation for being notoriously gloomy and rainy, but I actually consider this a bit of a misconception. In the several years that I have lived here, I've learned that even though the forecast may call for rain, it's often for only part of the day, and frequently the clouds clear out to let some beautiful sunlight through. Our summers are sunny and gorgeous, and spring and fall are usually quite beautiful. Even during the winter months, I often find plenty of sunny or at least partially sunny days to soak up some Vitamin D.

That said, it has been a particularly gray and damp couple of winter months with average rainfall quite a bit higher than usual. Even though I'm a huge fan of the rain and don't mind the gloom for a few days in a row, I admit that this has been a tough winter and I am officially ready for some sunny skies.

Staying active is critical to keeping my mental health in check, and it's especially important with the dark and gloomy weather. So how exactly does one stay motivated to exercise when it makes more sense to hibernate with a cup of hot chocolate and a good book by the fireplace? I often talk to others about how difficult it can be to get yourself out the door with less-than-ideal weather conditions, and I feel like I have found some pretty good tricks for getting myself outside even in the worst of Seattle weather:
  1. Create an activity/workout schedule. Write it down on your phone calendar, and use reminders that annoyingly chime at you when it's time to get moving. Carve time out of your day and set it aside for working out. Knowing the activity is planned and seeing it on my schedule makes it very difficult for me to ignore, and having a set plan really helps me be successful in getting out the door even on the worst of days.
  2. Plan to meet a friend (or several). I cannot recommend finding a running group or a workout buddy enough. It's so much easier to get myself out the door when I know that my friends will be out there suffering in the pouring rain with me. Remember: misery loves company.
  3. Dress for the weather. I've mentioned this on more than one occasion because it can make ALL THE DIFFERENCE between a good run and a horrible one. Invest in a good running jacket specifically made to handle the wind and rain. Get yourself a good base layer for those cold days, find yourself a decent pair of tech running gloves, and buy that dorky buff and running beanie to protect your neck and head from the elements. Embrace the running gear and accept that you're going to look a little ridiculous and mismatched sometimes. It's worth it for the comfort.
  4. Sign up for a race (or several). In the middle of winter. Yes, just do it. Accept that it's going to be cold and likely a soaking wet set of miles, but having a goal gives meaning and purpose to those awful-weather training runs.
  5. Cross train the heck out of the winter. Give yourself a break from the cold and find a hot yoga class to try. Accept that it's going to hurt and applaud yourself for doing it anyway. If yoga isn't your thing, try something else: CrossFit, Zumba, barre classes, swimming, tennis, a pilates or aerobics video, heck - even a stairclimber. There are so many options for cross training, and you don't have to break the bank or even leave your house to sneak a quick cross training workout in. 
  6. Have a back-up workout plan. Running through a thunderstorm isn't a bright idea. Trust me, I've been that idiot. If severe weather hits during your planned workout, have an alternative plan ready to go. My backup is to either hit up a power yoga class or make it an impromptu ABS DAY. 
    My core was on fire, hence the constipated-looking strain
    on my face. Robot Capris and Crane Shirt by INKnBURN.
  7. Follow the 10-Minute Rule. I wish I could credit the original brain behind this idea, but alas, I cannot remember where I read it. One of my favorite tricks on the 'but I don't want to do this!' days is to tell myself, "Look, Self, give it ten minutes. You can handle ten minutes of near-freezing rain and wind in your face. After ten minutes of this heinous torture, you can turn around and tell me 'I told you so'." Honestly? I have never once stopped at that ten-minute mark. Ten minutes is enough time to get your body warmed up and past that initial full-body moaning and groaning, and it's also enough activity to get those endorphins fired up, which totally fake you into believing that the cold torrential downpour you're running through isn't so bad after all
  8. Give mud a chance. Don't be a hater. Everyone deserves a little love, even unattractive terrain. If you know it's going to be wet and gross outside, why not add a little mud to the equation? Find a trail, squeeze a pair of gators onto your ankles, and go splash through some muddy puddles. Consider it a right of passage and high-five your running buddy. Remember to take selfies. Bragging rights, y'all. 
    Obligatory trail-running selfie.
  9. Plan a date. My weekend running group meets for coffee and donuts after our morning long-distance run, and the thought of a coffee date on a runner's high is often enough of a motivator for me to get my rear end out the door even on a miserable cold and rainy morning. 
  10. Stalk your weather app. I'm a huge weather geek and always have one eye on my weather apps. Even though the prediction calls for rain, it often does not necessarily mean it will be raining all day. On most days I manage to find a mostly dry or light-rain spot predicted at some point. If you have a flexible schedule, have your running gear nearby and get outside when your app says there is a low chance of showers.
I'd love to hear your tips for getting outdoors when the weather is uncooperative. Some days I still struggle to get myself outdoors, so new motivation is always appreciated!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

(Hyper) Active Family

I am far from being a perfect mother, but one thing I feel I have done well is pass on my love of being active and eating healthy. My oldest daughter is a dancer and distance runner, my youngest is a dancer and competitive gymnast who busts out an occasional 5K like it's no big deal. Both took years of swimming lessons and are very strong swimmers, and we often take them hiking, on walks, or on bike rides.

It's a bird... it's a plane... nope, it's my gymnast kid!
Both James and I are a little... er... hyperactive, to put it lightly. Honestly, I'm not certain that my kids know that it's not the norm to always be running or doing yoga, dance, hockey, or going to CrossFit (those last two are James' weekly hobbies, not mine). In a world where it is so easy to sit on one's rump in front of screen, I am relieved that my girls are always excited to do something active.

As I continue to ponder the decision to do a triathlon this year, I continually remind myself that what I chose to do sets an example for my kids. If I face my fears of swimming in (cold) open waters and training for something I consider extremely challenging, they will see that I am neither afraid to push myself to the limits nor of trying something out of my comfort zone. I like that idea, so I'm just going to keep telling myself that I need to do it until I commit.

When I asked my little one below if she would do a triathlon if she were me, she narrowed her eyes and shrugged her shoulders and said, "Yeah, sure." You know, as if it were no big deal.

My little dimpled sunshine!
Healing Mandala shirt by INKnBURN