Quit Whining and Make a Decision

I sure hate when it feels like I am beating my head against a wall and nothing is going anywhere. I had a run last week that ended halfway through my planned time, because of painful unplanned blisters. Talk about frustrating! Just then, I looked up and saw this:

Talk about hitting the wall!

Talk about hitting the wall!

So here’s the deal. Some days the obvious is staring you in the eyeballs or slamming you in the head, like a wine hangover. It’s right there. Relentlessly knock knock knocking, until you want to run to a hilltop and scream: “OK, I GET IT! NOW LEAVE ME ALONE.”

I had one of those “aha” moments this morning, while talking to one of my coaches. I have coaches for just about everything I do. Sometimes I actually listen to them. (Although I would venture to say, they wouldn’t always agree with that) Just in case you are curious, here is my list of coaches:

Marathon Running coach, Triathlon coach, Business coach, Voice coach, Acting coach.

Depending on my level of participation in all of the above,  my commitment level varies, as does the frequency of meetings, calls, and evaluations with these very patient people. This morning I had a call with my business coach, who I speak with every two weeks. (Cringing with the knowledge that I might not have done the work he assigned to me during the previous call) This morning’s call went something like this:

Coach: “So, tell me what’s going on in your business. How many calls, notes, and client visits have you done?”

Me: “Oh, I meant to, but,  bla bla bla bla…”(Sweat drops forming on upper lip)

Coach: “Patty, RIGHT NOW, tell me what is stopping you from doing… A, B, C?”

Me: “I’m afraid.”

Coach: “Afraid of what?”

Me: “I don’t know.”

Herein lies the problem. We talked about the fear of failure, of success, of everything in between, and then he helped me come to the conclusion that the reason I am meeting less that 100% of my yearly goals is because I lack confidence. (Do you have this fear? Do you ever admit it to yourself?) It’s certainly not something I advertise, but it is something I know, deep down inside, and carry around shamefully.

On the outside, most athletes and competitive people exude confidence, bravado, and grit. Inside, however, at least SOME of the time, we are not feeling that at all. It’s kind of like my Chihuahua: all tough and “in charge”, until you get too close.

Hi world. I might bark at anything that moves, but when it moves back????

Hi world. I might bark at anything that moves, but when it moves back????

We talked about roadblocks to success and it all boiled down to the ability to make decisions. Lack of confidence hinders that ability. Confident people make decisions faster, and without fear. Think about it. The next time you think of some goal you would love to achieve, how will you respond? Will you commit immediately and set the wheels in motion to go get it? OR will you hem and haw about how there’s not enough time, it’s too big of a goal, or maybe you will think you are not ready, good enough, strong enough? Here is another excerp from my coaching conversation:

Coach: “Patty, when I tell you to act now on your goal, what does that mean to you?”

Me: “Well, I guess it means to start today.”

Coach: “Ok, write down this definition of NOW.”

Me: “ok.”

Coach: ” NOW means EFFING NOW!”

OK, I got it. (Knock knock knocking) He’s right, of course. It is so obvious.

When I decided to run my first marathon, I immediately called a coach and got a plan. When I saw some issues with my improvement after coming back from a sports injury, I got a Triathlon coach. I have all these coaches, but I am the one that has to make the decisions and take the action necessary that will assure I will reach my goals.

So, here, now, today, I am pressing the REGISTER button on the MightyMan Montauk Sprint Distance Triathlon. This will be my second sprint tri, but my first open water experience. My competitive nature wants me to do the Olympic Distance, but I am taking the safe route and seeing how I do in open water. (There’s that confidence thing again.)

Oh, and coach Billy, in case you read this, I have scheduled a lender lunch and am writing an offer today. I heard you. Thanks for being my supporter and “hit me over the head as many times as you need to-er”.

So my advice today is to make decisions, learn from them, and do something to move yourself forward this day, NOW. Think of the rewards.

Are you a good decision maker? Have you jumped into a huge goal that brought you to a stellar achievement. I’d love to hear your story.

Keeping My Sense of Humor and Learning Something

No Pain, No Gain? Whatever! Sure, working out consistently is hard, makes me sweat, stink, moan, and curse, but it also makes me laugh my head off. Ever since I made the conscious decision that I was going to become a legitimate athlete, I have learned to wallow in the fact that I  have a very sick and silly sense of humor. Sometimes (well, more than sometimes, actually) it is very ill timed and inappropriate, too. Hey, if you can’t learn to laugh, you’re doomed.

Recently I had a terrible bike accident. While this wasn’t funny at the time, I found it to be both fascinating and humorous later on. And because of it, I learned a valuable and useful lesson!

After the pot hole, the skid

After the pot hole, the skid

Two weeks after this happened, I rode back to the exact spot to do some forensics. I was actually proud that my skid mark was still there! I even was able to see the trail I took that lead to my flop over the embankment. EPIC!!! Of course I took several photos because I am a sicko.

My trail to the crashYou can kind of see my tire tracks as they lead to the abyss. I wish I had a video of my going over that cliff-it would have been hysterical. (Except for the Stinging Nettle part) I’m certain that I looked like a rag doll flopping through the air. No “tuck and roll” for me-I was flat out flying and landed in a splat; upside down and tangled.

Two weeks later, I returned to the same bike path to test my nerve and re trace my ride. As part of this memorial training ride, I added additional miles and stopped at the Information Center at Stub Stewart State Park. I learned that if you get Stinging Nettles in you, you can use the underside of a common fern to ease the pain. Who knew? (Apparently the Ranger knew)

Brush the brown leave-underside of the fern on the pain.

Brush the brown leave-underside of the fern on the pain.

I have decided to add fern leaves to my fuel belt-just in case. I suppose if I wrapped myself in them, I could have something to cushion my fall the next time, too. It was too coincidental that the Park Ranger was talking to someone about this just as we rode up to the Center. HMMM, maybe it’s a common problem in these here parts.

I learned another thing that that day that I probably already knew.  Working out makes me STINK. I mean, really! Sure, it was a warm day and I rode 22 miles at a Tour de France pace and all, but I shutter to think what is going on inside my body to produce such vile stank! I remember when I was a newbie runner four years ago. Sometimes I actually showered before going to training runs and races. HA! Now, I see the idiocy in that. Maybe it’s the Dry Fit clothing? Could it be the Tapitio Doritos that I am having an affair with? The hummus I consume by the barge full? Who knows? Who cares, it’s funny! (Oh don’t turn your nose up, you stink too) Thank God most of my workouts involve the outdoors and fresh air or I would have no friends.

I actually Googled this and found out that sweat doesn’t really stink! It’s the bacteria that bacteria that feeds on your sweat that causes the stink. Or so the experts say. I may have to start re-evaluating my diet. Naaa.

Today on a run, I learned that the shoes I have been experimenting with are not going to make the cut. Recurring blisters suck big time. This is not funny. I have spent 5 months looking for the perfect running shoe that will work for my Shrek feet. If you’ve read some of my earlier blogs, you can learn about my darling feet. Fat, gnarly feet. Athletic shoe companies do not use feet like mine for their fit models, trust me. I have run my way through four different brands this year and am pretty sure I have found the one shoe that will be my favorite. I just need a little more time with them before I tell you about it.

Do you have challenges with athletic wear? What have you learned during your training sessions? I’d love to hear what you have overcome. It inspires me. Thanks for stopping by.




Saved by a Bicycle Helmet

Life is precious. How many times have we heard this before? As cliché as it may sound, it is true. Just ask anyone that has experienced a close call, and they will echo this sentiment. My recent brush with death, (or at least with a world class maiming) happened on July 5, 2013.

Like many people, when the 4th of July Holiday weekend rolled around, I sought the solitude of a good vacation spot, to get away from the rigors of my daily routine. For me, there was no doubt but to head to our “cabin” on the Nehalem River, in Vernonia, Oregon. The weather  promised to be warm, sunny, and beautiful, so we packed our trusted 4 legged companions in the truck (along with everything else we could fit) and headed out to paradise.

Lizzy looks like a ghost here

Lizzy looks like a ghost here

Mid morning on July 5th, Tony and I headed out for a nice training ride on our bicycles, along the Banks-Vernonia State Trail. This is a beautiful 21 mile paved bike path with 13 wooden bridges, lots of hills, trees, streams, and glorious scenery. We warmed up and started riding strong as we approached the planned turn-around point at Hill Top. For the next three or so miles, we flew along at a steady 20 mph pace, having the time of our lives. By now we were 9 miles into our ride, and COOKING! I had just moved into the lead position a mile back, and was in the zone. I’d never ridden this fast for any sustained period before. Well, things changed in a heartbeat. (And could have ended there)

I hit a hole in the asphalt that I didn’t see because we were in a shady area, and I think it was covered with a thin film of moss. My front wheel exploded to the right, and the bike started zig zagging back and forth at an alarming and uncontrollable pace. I quickly realized that there was no way I could regain control and I knew I was going down. I knew that if I went down on this asphalt, there most certainly would NOT be a good outcome. I do not like pain. I especially do not like when my bones are sticking out of my flesh. I took immediate evasive action!

Berry bushes, Nettles, and fallen branches make a nice bed.

Berry bushes, Nettles, and fallen branches make a nice bed.

I managed to steer the momentum of my bike toward the outside of the path and onto the softer shoulder, so that when I fell, I would be on a more appealing surface. What I didn’t realize, however, was that the surface contained plants that were covered in thorns, nettles, and every prickly thing you could imagine. PLUS, the thick growth hid the fact that there was a cliff and a ravine under those vines! Like a rag doll, I flew off my bike, into the foliage, and over the ravine. As I was tumbling, hitting my head, and more or less waiting for whatever the outcome was, I heard (aside from my own cursing) a skid, crash, thump, and load moan from my husband. What the HELL???? Why did HE fall?

Upon hearing his crash, I jumped up to get to him and see if he was alright. Of course, I forgot that I had just careened head first over a cliff and had to stop myself for a few seconds and let the dizziness subside. Plus, I had to take stock and make sure all my bones were still encased safely inside my skin. Thankfully, they were. The prickers and thistles had their way with me though.

OUCH, talk about painful. Look at all the swollen bumps and scratches!

OUCH, talk about painful. Look at all the swollen bumps and scratches!

I climbed up the hill and onto the bike path and ran to Tony, who was still laying on the side of the path. Not moving. Still. Immobile. I asked him if he was ok, and he said he didn’t know yet, but still wasn’t moving. Finally I saw him move his arms and legs and I knew at least he wasn’t paralyzed! At this point, I started running around in circles. This is what I do when I am on the verge of panic. “What can I do for you?” “Can you move your legs?” “Can you speak?” “Can you talk?” “Do you want me to call an ambulance?” I am sure if he had his wits about him, he would have told me to SHUT UP A MINUTE!

I ran back to my bike, and retrieved my phone, just in case I needed to call 9-11. As I ran back to him, I had this (rediculous) thought that I should take his picture in case I needed it for evidence or insurance…..huh? Really??? I know this makes no sense, but I did just fly off my bike and hit my head, so I am not judging my actions in any way. Her’s what he looked like:

He landed more than 12 feet from his downed bike and rolled off the asphalt

He landed more than 12 feet from his downed bike and rolled off the asphalt

For what seemed like an eternity, he laid there, waiting for his body to tell him it was ok to get up, and I helped him take off his helmet and sit up. We both sat there and took stock of our injuries. We were both bleeding and dazed, but overall, we could stand up, walk, and pretty much function. I was amazed. I ran back and got my bike out of the bushes and saw that, other than a broken front brake, it seemed to be rideable. His was too. Since we were still four miles from our cabin, and we couldn’t spend the rest of the weekend on the bike path, we decided to ride back. It was not the most comfortable ride, to say the least.

Once we got back, we both showered and that’s when Tony said he needed to go to the hospital. It is a 40 minute drive to the nearest Urgent Care facility, and after waiting there for an hour, we got in to see a doctor. He started examining Tony and decided that he needed to go to the Emergency Room at the FULL hospital down the freeway. SO, we packed up our aching bodies and headed out. AGAIN.

Five hours later, after X Rays and exams, we left, armed with prescriptions for Valium and Oxycodone, and a bottle of Lidocane. Diagnosis: concussions, and a cracked clavicle (Tony). I had the remnants of all those nettles in my, so for about 9 hours, I had the sensation of fire ants crawling all over me and biting me. FIRE! The whole day seemed surreal to me.

The meds helped us sleep (Oh boy, did they!), and the next day, we both felt a lot better. Then I looked at our helmets.

Glad I was wearing this!

Tony's cracked in two places.

Tony’s cracked in two places.

Suffice it to say, we were both very happy to be alive, recovering, and saved by our helmets. We spent a lot of time over the next few days recounting what had happened, and how “lucky” we were that things didn’t end up differently. In a heartbeat things can change. We still don’t quite know how we managed to walk away so unharmed! All I can tell you is that if you ever go for a bike ride. Wear your helmet!