What do you do when you’ve always eaten to perform? 

I am a little over 4 weeks into this journey. I have started physical therapy and although I am still non weight bearing, I am able to move the ankle to increase mobility and flexibility. I cannot put into words how nice it is to know that my ankle is not super fragile and can be out of the boot while I am at home. Freedom…well, sort of. 

In the past 4 weeks, I have lost 5.6 pounds. Wonderful, right?!? Well….not so much when it is muscle. I would like to be positive and think that some of it could be fat, but my shorts are telling me otherwise. I can do the math. I have been eating whatever, whenever, and not really caring much. As my shorts get tighter and tighter around my waist, I start to pay more and more attention to what I a shoveling into my mouth. 

Last week, I started logging my food into My FitnessPal again just to see where I was. While I was training, my diet consisted of almost 50% carbohydrates. I had carbs for every meal and snacks to fuel my workouts and recoveries. Now that I’m not training, I cannot eat like that without gaining undesirable weight. As I logged my meals, I realized I was still eating as if I were training. I have been doing very, very little exercising and eating 1800-2000 calories. Bad combination. This is how I KNOW the 5.6 pounds is not from fat loss. So what now??

I needed to get a grip on my nutrition and fitness. It isn’t all about the amount of calories consumed, it is really about the quality of those calories. Being frustrated and sad about my injury led to the consumption of cookies and pastas and countless other unhealthy foods.

   I can’t expect my body to heal rapidly and effectively if I am not treating it properly. Here is when I starting talking to friends and researching the 21 day fix eating plan. 

With the 21 day fix plan, I need to eat around 1,300 calories. It is all portioned out throughout the day and allows clean foods, nothing processed. I immediately freaked out, but this is what NEEDED to be done. I need to learn how to eat according to my activity level. This program takes planning, meal prepping, and exercise…everything I need to keep my mind off the injury. 

But….exercising!?! Don’t jump down my throat just yet. I am not trying to run laps or do jumping jacks. I purchased TRX straps and a residence band. I have been doing core work 1-2 times a week. Nothing extreme, but enough to get me moving and feel somewhat “normal”. Knowing that I’ve lost a ton of muscle mass makes me sad and frustrated, but it is something that I can control. I can’t build the muscles in my injured leg (yet) but I can work on keeping the rest of my body healthy and strong. 

So today is the first of 21. I even did some upper body work with my resistance band!! 

   I’ve got this. I want to feel healthy. I want to heal quickly. I want to be able to bounce back. I can only do those things if I take control NOW. 

Not the most interesting blog, but this is where I am right now. If any of you are doing or have done the 21 day fix, I’d love to share recipes. If you are struggling with your food intake, look into this program. The little containers are $11-15 on Amazon and Pinterest and Google can give you all the information!! 

Wish me luck!!

The journey has changed…but the dream is still big. 

  Just as I was starting the 2016 triathlon season, my life took an abrupt turn. In an instant, my dream of racing my first 70.3 triathlon was significantly postponed. In an instant, my journey would change. In an instant my life would travel down a road I NEVER expected to travel. In an instant, I was faced with devastation, frustration, sadness and doubt.
I traveled to Kauai for a vacation that we had planned and saved for for 2 years. We had left the kids at home and joined close to 30 of our friends on a trip to the “Garden Island”. On just day 2 of the vacation, we set out on the adventure that I had chosen. We kayaked up Wailua river, put the kayaks on a bank and began hiking to the Secret waterfall. The hike was about a mile and a half to the falls. We got about a mile in when we stopped at a swing made from vines to take a group picture. Our group was made up of myself, Gabe, 4 of our friends, and an awesome guide. I climbed up on the top of the vine swing and when I threw my second leg over, I lost my balance. I went to jump outwards to prevent falling on my face. Unfortunately, as I landed, my left foot landed on an exposed tree root and folded. Instantly, my race at Vineman flashed before my eyes as I fell to the ground and experienced the worst pain in my leg.  

After a few minutes, I calmed down and tried to compose myself. The pain subsided and I began to think I MIGHT be okay to continue on. I convinced the group to help me up and I would try to put pressure on my left leg. I slowly placed it on the ground, shifted my weight, and…..everything went black and the pain came back but more intense. There was no way I was walking anywhere.
Gabe piggybacked me out of the forest. It was not fun. It was not ideal. But it was what needed to be done to get me out of there and to the hospital. There was no cell reception and no way we could get a helicopter to retrieve me. We stopped a few times to let both of us rest, his back and legs and my focus to deal with the pain until we got out of there.
I don’t know how long it took us to hike out of there. But that was just the first half. We still had to kayak out. I sat in the front of the boat, leg elevated, freezing, and fighting through the pain. 
 
We finally reached the dock, the guide pulled up the van and drove us to the hospital. I spent the next few hours being evaluated at Wilcox Memorial Hospital. It was then that the news was given: broken tibia. 
 

I still had a glimmer of hope that I could still race in July. I still held on to the hope that my dreams for 2016 could live on….until…..

The orthopedic surgeon came and broke the news that I needed surgery. I had broken the tibia all the way through and it would require pins and possibly a plate to correct. Not only that, but he was concerned with the break as it went into the ankle joint. He kindly told me that my dreams of racing in July were not resonable. I would be in a boot style cast for about 3 months and even then the flexibility, muscle, and bone density would need time to be built back up.
Surgery was performed the next day. 6 pins were placed to stabilize the tibia. The recovery process began. 3 months. 3 long months. No training. No swimming. No biking. No running. My life turned upside down.

Waves of emotions flooded me the next couple of days. I was mad at myself for being wreckless and climbing the vine. I was devastated that I couldn’t race my big race. I was sad that I ruined our vacation. Finding positives in this situation was HARD, but I knew I needed to find them to prevent dipping into depression.
So what now?? Where do I go from here? All I can do right now is take it day by day. Some moments I am okay and feeling positive. Other times, tears are streaming down my face and frustration takes over.
My blog has changed from my journey to Vineman 2016, to my journey back to the triathlon scene. I will document the roller coaster of emotion. I will be open and honest about this injury. I know recovery isn’t going to be easy, but I get back to swimming, biking, and running.  

Positivity….it’s contagious!

When you wake up each morning, where do your thoughts go? Are you excited for a new day and all the things it will bring? Or are you dreading all the things you have to do at work, home, school, life? Are your immediate morning thoughts positive? Or have you instantly set your day up on a negative note?

I am as guilty as the next person for letting my thoughts drift off down a negative path. Sometimes it is right when I wake up. Other times it is after the kids are up and the day is dealing me a tough hand. One negative thought can lead to another and then another and so on until we are so frustrated and full of negativity. Then, we carry that negativity around all day and it starts to wear off on those around us. Now our coworkers, friends, or family members are feeling negative. Good luck shaking that once the snowball effect has started.

What if, when we woke each morning, we focused on a something positive? How would that change the events of the day? Well, that is my new goal. I want to live a life full of positive energy. Don’t we all?!?  I am taking control of my mind, my attitude, the demons that live inside my mind. I can only start with myself. I can’t force you, my kids, or those around me to want to do the same. However, good luck trying to get mad at me when I am walking around trying to find the positive in each situation. Stub your toe? Be thankful you didn’t break your foot! Drop your coffee? Thank goodness it didn’t spill all over your outfit. Kids are driving you up the wall? Put yourself in time out for a minute and count to 100 and then SMILE.

I am trying my best to find a way to carry this positive mindset to all avenues in my life. My relationship, my kids, my job, my friends, and my training. Somehow, it has become easier to be upset and frustrated with life. Why is that? Why is it so hard to be happy? Why is it so hard to love ourselves? And that is where it all begins… with ourselves. We are completely in control of our behaviors. Our thoughts will wander where they wander, but it is up to us to guide them, redirect them when they start to turn negative. We have to shut those demons down, one by one. Prove them wrong. Believe in ourselves. And carry our heads held high.

We have all been through tough times. We have all been dealt cards that we aren’t fond of. However, without trials and tribulations, we wouldn’t be who we are. So, why not take responsibility, find something positive, and try to encourage others to do the same? Sometimes, taking a minute out of your day to compliment someone on their efforts, will change that person’s entire day. Be kind, be happy, be positive. That is my goal. I challenge you to try and do the same. This world is so full of hate and destruction. Although I am just one person, I am one person that is determined to love herself and love those around me..friends, family, coworkers, strangers. A smile can speak a million words.

I hope you all can look in the mirror and see that you are worth it. You are beautiful. You are enough. Shut those demons up one by one!

Goodbye 2015…Hello 2016

 

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It is that time of year again where many of us sit down and make a New Year’s Resolution. I am no different. The real question is not “What will your resolution be?” but instead, “What will you do to ensure you reach your 2016 goals?” The motivation to make a change or start the year fresh is strong in January. But how strong will your motivation be in March, or July, or December?  I am as guilty as the next for setting a goal and losing momentum as time goes on. This year, however, I plan to keep moving forward, keep the momentum strong and this is how I plan to do it.

My 2016 resolution can be summed up in one word….”Growth”. I know…I get it…I know what you are saying….”Gee Courtney, that’s vague!” Sure, it sounds vague, but let me break it down a bit. We all have room to grow in all aspects of our life. We spend the majority of our lives in a state that is comfortable, known territory. Taking chances, getting uncomfortable, and expanding out of your everyday routine is a bit scary. I am ready for the challenge. I want to spend less time being “comfortable” and more time exploring what I am truly capable of…as a mother, companion, friend, and  triathlete. PersonalGrowth_words

My goals as a mother, companion, and friend will be the most challenging. Why? Well, because it is the everyday routine that will be the hardest to step away from and push forward in order to grow. In order to make a change, I have to understand and recognize where I am lacking and where I can improve. I will spend much of my time in the next few days sorting this one out. It is a huge challenge and will require daily, weekly, monthly evaluation.

My goals as a triathlete are a bit easier for me to see and set a plan for, and really, have already started. I already set the goal of completing my first 1/2 Ironman race and I will continue to work towards that goal. I need to focus on pushing myself and being okay with the uncomfortable state during my training sessions. This will help me come race day, when I hope to push myself for 6+ hours to my full capability. But this is not the only area in my triathlon life that I want to expand. I have some pretty exciting news that I have been holding onto…waiting to share with the social media world. But I will save that for the end. (Hahahhaa! I have more nonsense for you to read before I share the good stuff!!)

So, setting the resolution is easy, we get that. Anyone can set a goal. But what are YOU going to do to ensure you stick with the goal? What steps are you going to take to make the goal a priority? How important is this goal to you? Well, I can’t answer any of those questions for you. What I can do, is share with you the steps I take to stay focused.

I tend to set a really big goal, one that will take work and focus to achieve. I know that this goal will take time, a lot of time and this is why I set smaller goals that help me stay focused on the bigger goal. Sometimes I set a weekly goal..something I will have to work towards, but capable of being accomplished in a shorter amount of time.  We all like to feel like we are successful. These smaller goals help keep me focused, less discouraged by the far off goal. Often times, looking at the whole picture can be overwhelming. I am notorious for freaking out and losing focus when I feel like I am not making progress. So set smaller goals to keep the focus and motivation strong.

Another key step I take is to write the goal down. Physically putting it on paper and mapping it out makes it official in my world. Although the path to the ultimate goal will take several unexpected twists and turns, as long as it is written down and you revisit it from time to time, you will see how far you have come and maybe readjust your path to gain forward momentum again. So that is all fine and dandy, but in order to make a change, a real change, your goal HAS to be important to you. It has to be worth your time and effort. Don’t set a goal for someone else…do it for YOURSELF. If it is worth it to you, you will find a way to make it happen.

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Okay, hopefully you get the point of this post. I got a little carried away, but I want 2016 to be a great year…for you, for me, for the stranger who will become a friend. What is the news that I have been holding onto?? Well, it has to do with my growth in 2016.

My resolution really started a few months ago. I reached out to several product companies that support athletes. I was accepted as an ambassador for Honey Stinger and Nuun, both are nutrition companies that supply products that I use in my training and triathlon races. But, even bigger than that, I have acquired my first sponsorship as a triathlete. Yes, I was so excited that I may have peed myself when I found out. TriEverything LLC is a  company that originally started at local triathlons in 2014 and offered items to athletes that they may have forgotten come race day. Forgot your goggles, they had them. Need a visor or sunglasses? No worries. Basically, everything you needed for race day was there if you needed it. They have since expanded to an online store. It is a one stop shop for all things triathlon at a competitive price.  Before TriEverything LLC, I shopped at SEVERAL online stores to get my favorite triathlon needs. Now, it is all in one place. One site, one shipping fee, happy triathlete!! I will share more about the website and discounts as they become available in the new year. Stay tuned!!!!!

I wish you all a very happy new year. Please be safe and ring in 2016 with a smile on your face and a positive outlook for the next 365 days. I can’t wait to share my struggles and triumphs with you as my journey continues.

Goodbye 2015…it’s been great, but 2016 is going to be even better!

Public service announcement…

Around this time every year, I post on Facebook, call family, and remind friends to be a little more cautious.  

 You see, almost 4 years ago, our home gotten broken into a mere 3 days after Christmas. The day before, we had returned from my Mom’s house and I unloaded bags and bags of Christmas presents. Some were still in the decorative holiday bags and others in regular back pack, suitcase type bags. After 2-3 trips back and forth, the car was emptied and the presents were gathered in our living room. I had to sort and organize my, then 4 year old, daughter’s toys and clothes before putting them away in her room. The next day, I left for work around 3pm and wouldn’t be home for several hours. 

As we pulled up to the house that night around 11pm, I knew something wasn’t right. We had left when it was daylight out and now that it was dark, I could see that my bedroom light was on. I hadn’t left it on because I hadn’t turned it on before I left for work. Chills crept through my body. I pulled into our carport and I saw our cat sitting in our OPEN back doorway. I didn’t know whether to puke, cry, scream….I couldn’t move. With my daughter asleep in the backseat, I got out of the car, locked her in, and proceeded into the house. The back door had been pryed open with a crow bar and then kicked in. My house was FLIPPED UPSIDE DOWN. I called Gabe, who was in Fresno (I was living in Modesto at the time) and he yelled at me to get out of the house and call the police. I returned to my car, moved it to the front of the house and called Modesto Police Department. 

The rest isn’t really important. They never caught who did it. We never got the stolen items back. My daughters Christmas was taken from her. 99% of her presents were taken. My world was a complete mess for weeks afterwards. I didn’t feel safe in my own home. It was determined that the person, or people, who had done this, knew my schedule. I left and returned around the same time 5-6 days a week. They had most likely watched me unload the car the day before. They most certainly lived nearby. 

This is where I remind you to be cautious and aware of your surroundings. Back your car into the garage before unloading bags of presents, or groceries. Keep your car and home doors locked. Remove packages from your porch as soon as possible. Keep your garage door shut. Hide bags while out and about in the car. Keep your blinds shut while you are not home. Watch for unknown people/vehicles in your neighborhood. Do everything you can to eliminate the possibility of being broken into. I know it can happen to anyone, at anytime, but you can take steps to make the possibility a little less possible. Protect yourself!! 

Happy Holidays from our house to your!! 

Tis the Season…to stay balanced

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With Thanksgiving behind us and Christmas rapidly approaching, I am finding it harder and harder to stick to my daily routine…kids in school, training, eating right, household duties, errands, meals…..

I am a mom of three littles so naturally this time of year brings a whole lot of excitement..and cookies…and breads…and feasts. They just had a week off from school and will have another two weeks off for winter break in 3 short weeks. With them being home, my daily schedule is thrown off. I feel guilty for leaving for my 2-3 hour bike rides, or my 1-2 hour runs, and getting to the pool seems impossible. I find myself putting off my training session to spend time with them. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a bad thing. I just NEED to find a balance in it all. What did I do in years past? Why is this year so much different? Well, this is the first year that I have trained during the winter months. Every other year, I would finish racing in November and take a few months off. Well, that isn’t an option this year. With Vineman 70.3 just 222 days (not that I’m counting) away, I can’t afford to take 2 months off.

So, I made it through Thanksgiving dinner and the week long break with the kids. I managed to get almost all my workouts in without the kids missing a meal. They like to act like they are going to die when I am gone for more than an hour. It’s wonderful…let me tell you!! But back to the point….I didn’t stuff myself at either Thanksgiving feast (we had 2). I did enjoy a few cookies and a slice of pie. I am not a believer in removing the foods and treats you love, I just have them in moderation. For me, if I allow myself to have a cookie here and there, I don’t feel the need to eat all two dozen when I am finished baking them. I skipped on the hot chocolate as we walked around a neighborhood looking at Christmas lights because I didn’t need it. I skipped Starbucks one morning, when it was offered, because I didn’t need it. I am struggling enough with this winter training and I know if I say yes to ALL the goodies presented in front of me, it will only get harder.

Today when I woke up, there was a post on my facebook page about goals and holding yourself accountable. I taught my spin class this morning and presented them with a similar message. And as the afternoon went on, I found myself thinking about it again and again (which is what prompted this). I have goals. I set daily, weekly, monthly, and long term goals. Some I share with others and some I keep to myself. I know that remaining balanced this next month is going to be key for me in order to reach the goals I have set for myself. I will get my training done because I am committed to reaching my goals. I will spend quality time with my family and friends because I couldn’t do half the things I do without their love and support. They are a key factor in my happiness and success. I will keep food on the table, clean clothes on my family, and groceries in the fridge because my family depends on me to get these things done. I will continue with holiday traditions and create new ones for my children because this is an exciting holiday season for them. I will remain balanced in all areas because, if not, things will get ugly. A stressed out, frustrated, over stimulated mom is not a pretty sight. Take my word for it.web

In the next month, I encourage you all to find your own balance. Holidays can be hard for some. Please be kind to all those you encounter, even the rude ladies at Target. And the grumpy old men in the parking lots. You never know what their story may be. It may be your smile that brightens their day. Enjoy a cookie, slice of pie, or an extra dinner roll. But don’t lose sight of your fitness and health goals. Oh, you don’t have a goal to keep yourself accountable?? MAKE ONE! Don’t be part of the statistic that gains 7-10 pounds between Thanksgiving and Christmas and then frantically try to work it off in January. Keep your health and happiness a priority..today…tomorrow..all year long.

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Vineman 2016….what was I thinking?!?

In honor of Vineman 70.3 general registration selling out in a blazing 3 minutes yesterday, let’s talk about how I came to the decision to tackle this distance. For those that are not aware, a triathlon with a distance of 70.3 MILES is made up of: 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike ride, and 13.1 mile run. Yep, you read all that correctly. Here is how the course is described:ironmanvineman racedayannouncement articleimage 740x370

“The split transition race begins at Johnson’s Beach, nestled in the redwoods of the town of Guerneville. The 1.2 mile out and back swim takes place in calm, misty Russian River—shallow enough to stand up for a break if needed. Athletes will transition to their bikes, setting out on the 56-mile course featuring gentle rollers (and one tough climb) that wind through vineyards and quaint towns. The town of Windsor hosts transition two, where athletes will begin a challenging half-marathon that takes them through La Crema Winery. The finish line at Windsor High School is always packed with locals and spectators and a festive post-race atmosphere.” Doesn’t sound so bad, does it? That is until you put all those miles together for ONE race! Yikes!

Now, the real question….what made me think this was a good idea?!? Yeah….I don’t really know. Actually, I do know…..my good friend, whom will remain nameless for her safety (lol) came up with the idea. You see, she will be turning 40  just 3 days prior to this race. She set the goal for herself to race a 1/2 IronMan in 2016. Awesome goal…I agree. So, how does this affect me?? Well, being that we are good friends and all and I sometimes don’t think very clearly before I volunteer for things, I agreed to do the race with her. Man, I am such a good friend! Such a good friend that needs a swift kick upside her head sometimes.

This talk about Vineman 2016 started close to the beginning of the race season this year. I knew what I had gotten myself into and I wasn’t going to kid myself and think I could figure out the training and nutrition all on my own. So, I enlisted in some help. I wanted and still want to take this race seriously. (We will get into that more in a minute.) I hired a coach. Yep, someone to tell me what the heck I need to be doing on a daily basis to build my endurance. Ha! I actually hired him so I would actually DO the workouts on a daily basis. I need to be held accountable! I also hired a nutritionist to help me with what foods I should be shoveling into my mouth to fuel this training. Off to a great start….

Back to Vineman 70.3…this race sold out in a matter of 11 minutes in 2015. My dear friend and I knew that our chances of getting in were going to be ify at best. Then a magical, wonderful thing happened. Our triathlon club was given the opportunity for priority registration. SCORE! We get to register BEFORE the masses and we are guaranteed a slot. Whew!!! Pressure was off..at least as far as registration was concerned. So, a week before general registration opened, we all got the priority email. I thought I was handling the decision to tackle this distance pretty well…until…I had to hit the confirm button and make it official. UGH!!!

I did it! I registered and I am on my way to my first 1/2 Ironman race. I NEVER thought I would want to race 70.3 miles. I was so anxious after registering that I did a crap ton of housework to keep my mind off what I had just done. With the shock value wearing off and the realization hitting, I have found a new drive, a new focus to my workouts. This isn’t a goal I am going to take lightly. It wasn’t cheap and this may be my only chance to race this course (because it sells out so stupidly fast). I HAVE to make the best of this opportunity. I will not give myself any other options.

242 days, 14 hours, 52 minutes….not that I’m counting or anything!