Ironman Training Recap 4

I am BACK!!! I had a little extended hiatus going to Kenya and then trying to readjust back to normal life…the culture shock coming home truly rocked my spirit and body more than going there. To say my life was changed in Kenya would be an understatement…my world was filled with more abundance of love and energy than I have experienced since the birth of my children. I will write up a full Kenya report soon. I am finally sorted through my pictures and back to normalcy!

The most recent milestone is that I hit the seven month mark for Ironman Arizona in the past week. It was a real eye opener of what I have to accomplish and where I have been. This week was a make or break week for me. In the end…it was a MAKE. And here is why…

  

I have committed to complete “realness”, honesty and vulnerability with this experience…I will say it as it is and how I am reacting and feeling. I hit some massive lows with this Ironman business this week. I had an amazing weekend with a 40 mile ride, six mile run and lots of yoga. I felt strong and on top of the world. Monday of last week I took as a rest day and went to the gym to lift weights and mostly stretch.  I was starting to get emotionally run down at this point however. From outside circumstances. As every parent knows children sometimes go through stages and I was battling an extremely intense stage with one of my children and it was taking every bit of mental and emotional strength from me. As a single mom who lives away from my parents and my main support network, these times weigh heavy on me because they are trials I have to face alone. To work through in my mind how to parent in an effective manner, what tools do I need to reach my child, what makes my children click and basically at points in time…how am I going to survive another two hours and 32 minutes until bedtime. What I know and have learned is that emotional stress takes a larger toll on our body than physical stress. It reeks havoc on our endocrine system, spirit, muscles and mind. I am very pleased to say…After MUCH meditation and thought…I was able to find solutions for MY child and they have consistently worked for the past week. It has actually never been so pleasant! The highs and low of parenting are VERY real and more often than not, not spoken of.

Ok now back to Ironman…the mental stress I was under deterred me from my workouts Tuesday and Wednesday. I was literally unable to. Yah, maybe I could have “suffered” and “pushed through” but my body simply said NO. So I listened. Two of my best friends caught me in moments and I simply said…I can’t do this Ironman. It was too much for me right now. The overwhelming thought of training. The hours. The intensity. The fatigue. How in the HELL would I be able to be the mother I want and need to be for my boys and train. I have zero help unless I hire a babysitter. I wasn’t going to play the game with myself well “so and so does this and this and has this situation and still does all of THAT!”. That is a very dangerous game that I have been guilty of at times and I see so many people (especially women and mothers) get sucked into. STOP now! Who the heck cares what other people have going on in their lives. You do NOT know their full story, what their daily routines look like and their goals. Everyone leads a different life so the danger of comparison can push you to things maybe you aren’t ready for or will stretch you to thin. So I sat back, examined MY life and listened to a lot of advice this week from people I love and trust. I heard repeatedly these things…

1) I don’t know how you do it…

2) Take the pressure off yourself and don’t do it…

3) What do you have to prove…

4) Maybe the timing is off for you…

5) Ironman will ALWAYS be there…Why now

6) You know that nobody will care what you decide…

7) I will support anything you do…

8) You have all the time in the world to train and have a solid base already…

9) Just keep it “Steph Style”…Fun Fitness Friends Smiles Pictures Donuts HAPPY

10) You CAN do this…I BELIEVE in you…

These all were very valid and supportive points. A lot to consider and think about…My WHY…Why now…Why this race…Why…Why…Why…And then I saw the quote…

BE THE ONE WHO DIDN’T GIVE UP ON THEIR DREAM!

And it all made sense…

I have finally decided to surrender…this IS my dream and I know with every fiber of my soul I’m supposed to be there so I am doing it. WHY am I supposed to be there…who knows…I think of everything from maybe there will be someone along the run course that is having a rough time that I can walk with for awhile and make smile, maybe I am supposed to meet someone that will be there or maybe this is simply MY time. The reason I have gone back and forth a lot the past few weeks is wondering whether the timing is off for me and my children. I reached a point that I would truly be ok if it was but it is tugging at my heart too hard to postpone a few years. I don’t have anything to prove to anyone or to myself. It took many years but about three years ago I released caring about what others thought…I wasn’t signed up for this race to “prove” anything. Even to myself. I knew this because I was ok if the timing was off and I had to postpone. I can do this. I will do this. In pure Steph Style. I am swimming, biking and running to the beat of my own drum. This is going to be FUN! And the moment it turns into work or I dread it is the moment I will take a step back and reevaluate it. I don’t have time goals. I don’t care about times. The dedication, perseverance, heart and passion are what motivate me.  I won’t get in every workout I “should”…I have to face the facts now and surrender that my training will be my own and I will do what is right for my body, time, and children FIRST. One workout at a time with some FUN races mixed in. I won’t look at the big picture because the big picture doesn’t matter, is overwhelming and micromanaging the Universe’s plan just doesn’t work in my experience. HA!  What matters is THIS moment. THIS workout. THIS day. Am I having FUN? What do I need to do TODAY to get me one step closer to my ultimate goal. It’s MY journey and there will be massive growth, retrospect, mental as well as physical breakthroughs as well as breakdowns…and so much FUN along the way. But for today and every training session…I will stay in the present…focused…and TRUST that the Universe has a way for me to reach my goals, that getting up/showing up/doing the work daily will bring me along the path I’m supposed to travel and keep on living my motto #DreamReallyFreakingBig.  

So Thursday of last week…I jumped in the pool and just swam. Counted laps because I forgot my watch. 2000 meters. I just danced in the water and felt strong again. It was peaceful but challenging. I spent a lot of time like this with my little buddy as we bonded on a deeper level after having a massive breakthrough. Being a mom is the greatest blessing in the world. My babies ground me, challenge me, and prove to me daily that unconditional love DOES exist.      

Ummmm quick break from training to say THIS coconut water rocks my world about 17 times over….I have been drinking it daily!  This last weekend I wanted to make as fun and exciting as I could.  After a long week I wanted to do what made me the most happy! So I biked/ran on Friday in the spin class that I love most. That evening I went to a 90 minute Ashtanga Yoga class. Saturday I woke up super early so I could catch the sunrise on my bike and it was breathtaking! I rode 30 miles and felt so strong and happy. Nobody was out but me and the birds were chirping and the sun was shining. I spent the rest of the day with my kids and getting my last Reiki Certification that allows me to teach as well as practice and heal. If anyone in Chicagoland needs or wants a Reiki session or more info email me!!! RainflyYoga@gmail.com That evening I spent with my friend at a yoga workshop that incorporated myofacial release in restorative poses. It did wonders for my back, calves and hips! Yoga truly has my heart!!!!  

Sunday was just as amazing. I woke up at four in the morning so that I could load up for the day my food and running gear and head downtown. I went for a 7.17 mile run on the lake and watched the sunrise as I ran. There is truly something very special about a sunrise. It is the reminder that every single day the sun will rise. The dawn of a new day. A rising. A strength and reminder that the universe really is there. Simply Love. I ended my run on a pier doing yoga and just enjoying the warm sun on my face, gentle breeze in my hair and the sound of the waves crashing in around me. Heaven. Peace.       

After my own yoga practice on the lake I went to my favorite city yoga studio…Moksha Yoga and was able to practice with a world renowned Yogi, Ross Rayburn. He has taught in over 100 countries around the world. We concentrated on backbends, inversions and arm balancing. I can’t begin to send enough gratitude to him and this class for all it taught me. I was able to learn new tricks and fundamentals to get into poses or at least build the proper foundation for a few poses that are very hard for me. Perhaps the most monumental point of the practice was when I was demonstrating with Ross. He was explaining as I was in the pose pulling up and I overheard a girl say under her breath…Wow, she is strong. I almost fell out of my pose I was a little shocked but that split second gave me strength to finish the pose I was in. I had never had someone refer to my yoga practice as being “strong”. I have many weak areas that I openly accept and don’t judge in yoga. They are opportunity for growth and strength to be built. Normally the validation from others wouldn’t effect me as greatly because I truly seek validation from within but strength was something that had been on my mind and it was to me, validation from the universe saying YES Stephanie…you are VERY strong. Look how far you have come with your practice and in LIFE. It’s noticeable. It’s real. It’s YOUR strong. It fills my heart with such joy knowing that I am STRONG. Not only mentally and spiritually but physically too. I plan to write a post about strength later this week so I won’t expand too much but STRONG is a word I have been meditating on recently and it was just a very powerful experience. So there is my extra long Ironman update! If you are still reading this you deserve some chocolate! So go get a piece! Haha! Thanks for reading if you have…I promise to make it more regular now!

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