Bankable Memories – A Birthday Surprise for Mike and a Training Surprise for Me

So, my trip to supporting my family friend turned about to be supportive to me, as well. Blessings go both ways!! 😊
What a loving gift I got, too, as I went to celebrate him! I got celebrated, too, for my training.

My memory will have that moment forever, for how happy he seemed for some reason, and what a fun moment that was!

August 1

My ex-brother-in-law, Mike, had a birthday yesterday. He’s got to be pushing 70 or more – quite a bit older than my sister, he was.

Yesterday I thought to go and spend the day with him. In the morning, I had a flat and had to work out. Prayed about it in the a.m. with respect to having a confirmation of pwhat I was feeling. I opened the bible, and what I turned to was in Psalms, I believe, and it said something about “birthday feast.” Perfect. That settles it.

Went to take my car in and do my training, and by the time I got back it was after noon. I cleaned up myself and felt like I’d rather relax on the couch which is where I found myself sitting doing just that.

It was after 1, and the drive across 70 through FL is my most boring, hated, 3-hour drive, and with no radio!

I consulted the Lord again, what should I do? Do you really want me to go? I got a word from Isaiah that read, “Set you mind on the highway.” I was so excited because it was so clear and, I called Mike and let him know of my plan. Happily, he was out a dock bar having a birthday celebration with some friends and locals.  I asked if he’d be around later, and he said he had no plans. I told him was planning on coming over and taking him out for a birthday dinner! “Yah!” was his great response, in his cute Mike fashion that he does when he’s really excited. It’s so cute like a young kid.

I got off the couch immediately and gladly got about my business. Cleaned up a bit here, packed my bags and readied myself for the highway for the birthday feast celebration. I was so excited for Mike’s excitement and for having clear direction, my road trip woes were destroyed.

I prayed too the trip be shorter, somehow. When my GPS sent me a different way than I’d always gone it’s shaved a half hour off my trip! Yah!!

I got Mike a couple little silly things – a “birthday cupcake” which he requested. It was a chocolate muffin he called a “cupcake,” a card and some candy, a birthday balloon, and that was it. Not much. My visit, and the dinner, were the gifts. Thought he should have a card at least. Something to open! 😊

When I arrived, I sung to him after he opened the door for a quick happy birthday to you – he laughed and took it in.  We greeted each other warmly.

Mike wanted chicken parm which we eventually went out for and had a yummy feast! He was happy! I ate so much. He barely finished his dinner, because he had tacos for lunch he claimed, making him full, whereas I’d only had a tuna sandwich after an hour and a half at the gym, barely anything all day. I was ready to eat. Salad, bread, stuffed mushroom appetizer and a pasta and chicken dish. I ate almost every bit of it. A café latte and biscotti to boot. Mike was too full for a birthday cake, but had a “classic coffee,” as he puts it.  We chatted for some time. He shared how happy he was with the everything which made me pleased! Felt glad it was birthday feast success which was worth the trip over!

My plan the following morning was to train. My legs and knee felt good, gladly. Figured I would run first being it was about the time I would be running, 8:45, and I was working on proper conditioning. I was going for the distance for Saturday, 3.2 miles, a 5K. Planning on running around his neighborhood 4 times, according to him, would likely make that distance. Turns out, I ran 4 miles which was GREAT!!

My morning highlight, after the beautiful morning weather I enjoyed with coffee as I reminisced about Miami weather as a kid, was after making my first lap, seeing Mike in his garage waiting to cheer me on. What a great surprise!! I loved it. It made me so happy. I won’t have anybody at the event with me, so him cheering me on was really special. Bankable memories are what I began accumulating. Rich memories.

One of the things I realized with my run that morning was that like swimming I was originally having a hard time breathing which I’d forgotten – I’ve run little during these 3.2 weeks of training, and haven’t run much at all this summer! So, that was good to realize – that whatever my race, I will find my pace eventually, it may take me a minute or 15 to find my breath and then regulate it, but I’ll get there as long as I don’t panic! So, I felt my pace eventually, and it felt good. Mike even commented on my pace being good, but later told me to pick it up. 😊

I think I loved most what I came next. As I was going for lap two, I saw Mike heading toward me. I did not know it was him for a while. I’m not sure what sparked it, but the smile he had was the best I’ve ever seen on him.

It’s so rare to see a smile from him like that. It was great. Perfect! I’ve termed it one of those “bankable smiles.”

My memory will have that moment forever, for how happy he seemed for some reason, and what a fun moment that was! It was joyous! I’m not sure why or what was said. Maybe it was my laughing at the recognition of it being him coming toward me on my bike! Thought that was funny. He eventually began too with his army chant, “left, right, left, right, left.” He kept on. We laughed. We got back to his place. He eventually pulled in the drive, and I ran on.

He continued to be outside cheering me on, off and on with his coffee in hand, and a wave or cheer and a smile. Something supportive. It was super! I will be so grateful for those sweet memories, always! Fun and memorable are what he made that particular morning of training. It was great. Memorable, for sure. Completely unexpected and fun! Thank you, Mike!!

So, my trip to supporting my family friend turned about to be supportive to me, as well. Blessings go both ways!! 😊

What a loving gift I got, too, as I went to celebrate him! I got celebrated, too, for my training. I won’t have anybody I know cheering me on at the actual event, but, I will see Mike in my head and hear him in my ears as I make my transitions, and I finally cross the finish line winning for myself the title of triathlete.

Me Bike Train 2

Cheers to you, Mike. Thanks, too, for the fun, bankable memories! I love you.

Holly

I’ve Lost My Training Squeals and Found My Rhythm

Trains squeals are any mental thought I’ve heard inside my head that conflicts with my objective. These are naturally natural, I guess, when learning anything new or training, however, focusing on them is what will lessen my performance, impede my progress and maybe even thwart my goals all together, if I give them more focus and more weight than the accomplishment toward which I’m striving. This is what I have realized.

Finding my rhythm has been more than finding the physical balance of patterns I recognize I need while training for swimming. It’s been finding my mental focus and determination beyond my circumstances.

Rhythm is more mental – internal, than the external pattern of coordinating legs, arms, breathing, swivel, etc.

My internal dialogue will determine my rhythm and my stride, or whatever it is I’m doing. My mental, internal speak will dictate how I will perform. This is what I am realizing.

I’ve been helping a young girl learn to swim, and as I’ve been practicing and training myself, I’ve recognized some of the same “squeals” coming from my own mind. Though the verbiage may be different, the sound is the same – its discordant, inharmonious – and the effect is the same – it’s unfocused and difficult, making goal achievement elusive or a boring struggle more so because of these squealing complaints.

I was swimming in the ocean inlet recently when I first recognized this in myself. The tide was abnormally strong making what I find already challenging, extra difficult. My mental complaints were due mostly to the current which was making my swimming like I was in a wave pool – I was going nowhere, hardly, despite my trying to swim strongly. I literally swam my top off – I laughed when I stood up at one point and realized it had come loose.

The complaints, the distracting observations, the truths that inconvenience performance, the anything that lessens my ability to perform on some level, or want to perform, are all part of what I have recognized as going on inside of me, and what I have coined “training squeals.”

Trains squeals are any mental thought I’ve heard inside my head that conflicts with my objective. These are naturally natural, I guess, when learning anything new or training, however, focusing on them is what will lessen my performance, impede my progress and maybe even thwart my goals all together, if I give them more focus and more weight than the accomplishment toward which I’m striving. This is what I have realized.

I left the inlet that day a little deflated, feeling like I had not pushed harder or beyond the squealer. I realized my squeals that day. The contrast of how I walked in the water and how I walked out is not one I wanted to relive, and I haven’t since.

I walked into the water that morning feeling so accomplished because of a 3+ miles run I had just completed, but I left with less than that because I let the squealer win out on the swim.

I have heard the squealer since, but I have not let her win. I have pushed beyond her noise, and made focus my focus as the squealer screetched on. Focus wins out, and the squealer is silenced.

I have found in this training that there is nothing like “doing it,” or knowing you really pushed and gave it what you had. That is one of the best feelings – accomplishment. There is truly nothing like it, however small.

The screetcher is loud – hollering, “it hurts, I’m tired, I got water in my mouth, I’ve got hair in my mouth, I’ve got water in my eyes, it’s too hard, I can’t breathe, I’m not good at this.” Whatever its truth or whine, it’s distracting from the goal. Fix it and move on, or get over it, or, if you can’t fix it, in the case of a strong current, do what you can, and focus on what you need to do to overcome it, and stop complaining about how hard it is because that only makes it all the harder.

I went to swim in the ocean a couple of times last week. The first time was scary primarily because of the possibility of sharks. There was of course the dread, too, because my mental fears putting up obstacles about how I’m not good at it, and it was going to be difficult. Screech!

Do your best – what you can.

That is what I came to at the inlet too, eventually, which first got me out there. I first psyched myself up as I rode around the park trying to delay my entry. What I came to was the fact of how unrealistic it is to think I can do the whole thing right away, and of course it is a challenge – it’s new. It’s training! I need training, and it’s a step at a time!! So, that gave me boldness, and I got off the bike and got to it.

I waded in and out, but finally went in and gave it a go. I did alright. The squealer was present, but she helped me to realize I needed to focus.

Reach don’t screech! I focused on what I needed to improve. There is always a lot, but I keep focusing on what is right in front of me. I felt good getting out.

The next time I went to the ocean I was more focused. I felt pretty glad to be there. I waded out and got with it. I swam and swam.

Same thing – difficulty, screeching present, refocus, screech, focus, go, go, go. I found myself at one point, within myself, not my internal cheerleader, but my spirit, said, “I did it.”

I just knew I did it. But what? I’m not sure, but I accomplished something, somehow. Maybe it was the distance, or the constant continuous focus and eventual achievement from making a sincere effort. Not sure, but I liked that feeling! I swam on.

So, I have had no idea how far I’ve been swimming, however, when I have swam, I always try and swim what might actually be the 3/8 mile distance, whether I have to stop along with way or not. I always try and go the distance.

I have swum laps at the gym before, but only a couple of times and have had no idea how far I was going and have lost count of the number of laps I was swimming. As I’ve progressed with my swimming, I got a little more earnest about the laps and training.

I figured out a way to methodically count my laps as not to lose track, and went for it the other night. My goal was to swim for 20 minutes. I swam for 18 minutes. I’d done 12 laps. I thought to go for two more. I ended at 22 minutes, and 14 laps. I still hadn’t found my rhythm, but that was okay. I’d struggled with a new squealer and was doing what I could to focus on staying above it so I would stay above water – I felt like I was sinking. I actually had to counter the screeching with scriptures and positive thoughts this time – it had nothing to do with focusing on form – that came later. I had to find my mental focus first and swimming focus followed. I’d done it. I completed my 14 laps, and 22 minutes and felt I’d overcome what obstacle I faced that night well, and I headed out.

I found out the length of the pool and would later figure out the calculations of my distance. I headed to Starbucks for a celebratory and recovery latte, eager to know how far I’d swam. I figured the number of laps I’d have to swim to make the distance I would be required to swim at the meet was just under 14! I’d made my distance! That was the last event I had to do to make my distance. I’d already done my run and bike, and even put them all together one morning, but not in their entirety. I was on my way. I’d made a new accomplishment.

I felt my progress. It was good.

The next morning, I’d already planned on mixing up the work out a little – mornings were what I found worked best for training, but I thought I’d work out later in the day or even the evening again, as I had the night before.

Having produced quite a bit for work, I headed home, but after pulling in the drive, pulled right back out and I hit the gym. On the way there, the turning point happened. For the first time, I wanted to swim.

I was thinking on how the water would be on my skin as I swam through it. I was enticed and excited for it! It was then I realized I’d turned the corner, and…the training squeals were off.

When I arrived, I ended up riding and running first. I’d run hard. It made me sick. Headed home instead of following up with my swim there.

When I got home, I felt better. I jumped in the shower, rinsed off with a quick shower, and jumped in my suit. I’d decided to go swimming there. The water was about 80 + degrees, not refreshing. My googles were also not only leaking, but come to find out, the rubber had come off, and I was struggling to figure out the way to fix them. I figured it wasn’t in the cards for me to swim that night, but felt like maybe that was a…Screetch! I took a couple of laps without goggles, but that wasn’t working for me. I then gave an earnest attempt at fixing my goggles, with success! I put ‘em on, headed forward, and managed to swim for 30 minutes!  And…finally found my rhythm. I’m a two stroke, and breath, girl with a swivel and lift, as I come out of the water!

I felt happy. It was good. The training squeals were off. Positivity and focus were on. I am on the way to a new path.

Holly

 

Swimming Has a Rhythm

It wasn’t until today that I noticed what I thought was very interesting. Swimming has a rhythm. It has a pattern also. Practicing a pattern over and over will allow a rhythm to emerge.

Lessons from the Pool: Finding My Song!

Today I got in the pool for the third time as I train for my pending triathalon at the beginning of next month.

I did alright. I watched a video the other day of how to properly do a stroke, the freestyle catch – by Chloe Sutton, a two-time Olympic swimmer – shown on You Tube. So, today I employed the catch for the second time. I struggled. There is so much to remember. Am I doing it right? I did not notice so much yesterday while at the gym, but today because my pool is much smaller, I had to focus on getting in all right in just a few strokes. So, I was very conscientious of every movement and how my body was orchestrating or not. Breathing, stroking and kicking – they’ve got to all work together – this is something I gathered on my own and was trying to figure it all out. What is the best form? What is the best form for me? Be consistent with every stroke. Get it right.

It wasn’t until today that I noticed what I thought was very interesting. Swimming has a rhythm. It has a pattern also.

I feel that practicing a pattern over and over will allow a rhythm to emerge. Makes sense!! We’ll see!

 

This is my thought!

There’s a stroke pattern, a breathing pattern, and a hip-swivel pattern that should coordinate with the pattern you use with kicking. The body parts and function of each, each have their own style and pattern, but they must work together like an orchestra to strike the perfect concordant harmony, or your style is discordant, labored and rhythmically disjoined, in addition to being inefficient. This is what I found today.

I may be totally off, but the brief moments I had gotten a rhythm, I was following somewhat of a pattern. Two strokes and breath, breath on the left, swivel the hips to coordinate with your stroke! These are my patterns so far. I liked what I found for me! So, tomorrow, I will practice more, putting it all together for my concordant style.

I have not learned anything about swimming other than that brief video I watched, and a bit of 4-11 Tim, my neighbor, dropped on my when he saw me swim the other day that my feet should be under the water when I kick because that’s how Michael Phelps does it. Well, I looked at one of his video’s, also, and it looked like they were above and below. I employed the below bit, and with the hip-swivel corresponding with my arm stroke, I began to feel a bit rhythmic, and more powerful. It was pretty interesting.

Swimming is a struggle for me, but I’m now looking for my song, so that’s okay. I’m getting it little by little and feel more accomplished already after just today with my lesson learned, and my intrigue for tomorrow awaits. I will look forward to developing my patterns more as I swim in the big pool, and incorporate what I have learned, and will anticipate my practiced patterns will allow my rhythm to emerge!

Swim on.

Holly