My Fittest Year… Really?
My fittest year declaration for 2019 became much more my fittest year under crazy circumstances. It was a year ago almost exactly, Thanksgiving week in fact, that I decided to really see what my body could do. I started testing so I could benchmark in mid December.
The wheels fell off the bus.
I fell off the wagon and got run over by it.
Borrowing words from some beloved clients, these words fit when I think about the year I had hoped (but perhaps not visioned clearly enough, as you’ll understand later in this post).
This year was to have been my “fittest year.” So I proclaimed last December when I began testing my fitness level and registered for the Ironman Cozumel November 24, 2019.
I had let focus on my personal fitness slip and “exercising” had long since failed to motivate me. I wanted an event, an experience on my calendar again. Cozumel’s swim is 80 degrees with vision up to 100ft and feels like snorkeling. I’d done it twice before and it was an easy decision.
When Someone Has Other Plans
I hadn’t planned on a septic tank back up Dec 23, the Sunday before Christmas in the mountains. I hadn’t planned on it taking nearly 3 full months to mitigate the mold in my entire lower level or the disruption to my business. The start to my businesses suffered a great deal due to water, insurance, assessors, and the work crew traffic. I hadn’t planned on 8 media appearances in two months. And I hadn’t planned on 3 illnesses in 8 weeks that pointed me to the need to test whether or not the mold was truly mitigated or not.
It in fact was not. My immune system was compromised due to a mold known as “stachy”. I began taking glutathione and binders to support detox. In addition to using my sauna and spending as much time outdoors as possible, I was in contact with the landlord. She wasn’t willing to do anything else. I suddenly was moving.
I hadn’t counted on moving, or losing 1/3 of my belongings. I certainly hadn’t counted on moving out of Colorado to Scottsdale. But a fluke suggestion, a time constraint, and an even more fluke view of the interior of a home landed me here. By half way through 2019, my fittest year was nothing but an intention.
Moving Reduced Exposure
You’d think that moving out of that environment would make a difference. You’d be right. I’ve not been sick another day. However, I’ve had lingering issues with my endurance and stamina. I don’t have any for running. I have found that even 30 minutes of running – slowly – much more slowly than a year ago, is about all I want to do. Let me share that a marathon in an Ironman triathlon is likely to take 5 ½ hours on a very good day for me. This current status is not good news.
[More on the lingering effects of mold soon in a podcast with my friend and mold expert, Dr. Ann Shippy.]
Walking a marathon I would project 7 hours. However, it’s helpful that you’ve trained for that. I’ve had other disruptions this fall too. Some recently. And they’ve severely clipped my training plans. My fittest year without training is how I’ve come to think about this now.
Just the past couple months several challenges have come up. Some so severe they’ve made me question my online business Flipping 50, in fact. As much as I believe in it there seem to have been signs, many signs, suggesting a change of direction in my life may be in order. As I thought finally some resolution was coming I got another jolt. Even in my fittest year, I had to run a business.
Just when some very important documents should have been delivered, the recipient emailed to tell me he hadn’t received them.
I was caught between consultations to enroll new coaching clients with 10 minutes to check on just why the FedEx overnighted package I’d paid $44 to send hadn’t arrived. Tracking numbers shed no light. It seemed to have disappeared.
Suddenly my FedEx customer advocate (who knew I needed one of those?) notified me he had found the package. In fact, it never left the store where I’d dropped it off. What???
Time-sensitive documents, made more time sensitive because I was boarding a plane for international travel very, very early the next day, didn’t arrive because they didn’t get sent?
Moments after this news I had to get the dog to boarding. My route was detoured. That took 30 minutes more than it should. I arrived home in time to do a group coaching program.
Except, the door from the garage to house was locked. The key, you guessed it, was inside. I never lock the door. But somehow, in the rush to get Truman out, juggling his dog food and leash and my purse, slightly distracted by the earlier events of the day, and the weeks preceding it, I must have locked it.
There was a key lockbox. However, I hadn’t punched those numbers in since I first arrived at this rental home 5 months ago. The text message from my realtor was long-since deleted from my phone. My landlord was gracious and helpful but couldn’t recall the number she’s set nor find the text either.
By some miracle, I stepped away and then returned to the box and pressed the numbers in. Wa-la. I’m in. The brain is a miraculous thing.
Here’s My Reality
So here I am, as I type this to you, on a plane headed to Cozumel. That after all was to be the cumulation of my fittest year training. In 3 days I’ll start an Ironman. It was already something I was committed to, it wasn’t as if I could cancel. Sometimes though, a no-cancellation policy is best.
Though I’ve had long bike rides and swims, I’ve not done all the workouts. Certainly that’s true lately as I was interrupted by two conferences and a TEDx talk interfering with weekend training in the past 8 weeks. Nor have I done most of the runs as they were assigned.
Due to a lack of endurance, I’ve walk/run and thus, that’s my plan for race day. To start the marathon walking, running alternately for 26.2 miles.
If you’re the type of person who prays, Sunday might be a good day. (If you’re reading this after, please continue, I’ll come back and refresh this with the outcome.)
What I want you to know is what I’m employing to get me through. There is of course, what’s called muscle memory. But that alone is not what I’m relying on just in case my muscles have dementia.
I’m initiating the placebo effect.
I’m harnessing the vision ….
…of starting and swimming effortlessly and with a smile as I can see clearly and swimmers are beside me, in front of, and behind me comfortably. Seeing and swimming in pristine, warm saltwater sets us at ease. We swim with the tide and it’s less effort than in a pool. In fact, my time is better than it’s ever been and yet I feel relaxed not tired at completion of the swim.
I move out of the water, taking my time to go through transition or T1, changing into the tri kit I’ll wear the rest of the day. On my bike, my Bill bike, for the first time using it in a race, I’m calm. Take peace along for the ride. It was a message that came to me from him the morning of his funeral just days after his passing. For the first time I know this message was meant for me to relay to Bri for a reason. I just mentally named the bike, Peace.
Each of the three laps around the island gets warmer. Winds on this day are gentler though and seem to have a small tailwind effect on the far side of the island. I love the sunshine, the blue water, and the joy of motion. What’s not to love about choosing to do this? About having the body that loves it? I’m the only person who can pedal this bike but I’m not alone.
More Than Words
Dismounting the bike to through transition I’m glad to let it go to volunteers. As I begin the run, the day is warm. The tri- kit is sweaty and it’s the beginning of what for some is a single feat they would never attempt. But it’s just one foot in front of the other. It’s this where the human race really shows up. I’ve paced myself and know of course I’ve been out playing all day and I feel so very grateful to be here.
I have a flashlight tonight, something I’ve not had in the past. The third lap I know will be darker. And it will be magical because that’s where people come together as they’re falling apart. They support each other, they have endured the training and this long day and they want to finish even when their body is telling them otherwise.
I feel good, clear-headed about what I’m doing and why. I’m declaring the stress of the past year doable, not tragedies. I’m thankful for friends and family who’ve supported hard changes, who are there every day. They’ve given me the strength to make both the journey in life and the journey that began early on this day.
There is nothing without love. I love this. I love my family. I love my work. The success in anything is really in starting. Finishing, yes, is the reward. And sometimes you take that prize too. But the work and the discipline to get to the start is the real gift.
I’ll see that vision.
Then, I’ll pair it with emotion.
The source of some of my emotions you read. There’s more to tapping into emotions.
Tapping Into Emotion
Can you think of a time when you were filled with pride?
You did something (you, not pride for someone else) that filled you with pride and pleasure for having done it?
Can you think of a time you were filled with confidence?
You were absolutely certain you were meant to be exactly where you were doing exactly what you were doing?
And can you think of a time you experienced pure joy? It was a silly, happy, funny story that makes you smile when you tell it to this day. It makes you laugh to the point of tears when you think about it.
Tapping into emotions like these along with a vision so clear you can see it, feel it, taste it, hear it and smell it… can change you. Can change your DNA. Perhaps it can even create muscle memory that wasn’t there. Because if you can create a vison, a story, so strong that your brain will not know if it’s reality or not and it will then create the body to match it.
Make no mistake, in that last paragraph I’m not asking if it is possible you can create a vision that strong. I’m asking if you will. Like you would have to train for a marathon, you have to have a plan and rehearse it. You have to repeat the vision frequently and consistently.
What’s Coming Next in My Fittest Year Story
I’ll share more about vision in a podcast with 74-year old Dexter Yeats who is here to compete with me Sunday too. [We recorded it last night and it is just soooo good I may release it on Thanksgiving). There may be a secret to why she is competing in multiple Ironman triathlons every year since she’s retired. I call that rewired. The moral of that podcast is about seeing past the goal. Past the finish line, the retirement, the weight loss and painting that vision.
And, of course, I’ll share what happens to complete my fittest year!
Make it your fittest year! The Cafe is open for enrollment during Thanksgiving week! Starting Saturday November 23 you can join and SAVE!