The Emotions of Change

Repost of this blog originally written in 2011.

The Emotions of Change

By: Jerome Merlau, DailySpark Blogger 
12/27/2011 10:00 PM   :  56 comments   :  10,157 Views
See More: weight loss, emotional health, men’s health,

Honestly, I never expected so many changes when I decided to take my life back.  Oh sure, I expected to get skinner, but that is where my thought process stopped.  I am not sure I expected or even understood the “healthier” aspect of it all yet.  I’d set out to lose some weight and wouldn’t you know that I lost a ton of baggage as well.  Who knew there were emotions involved with this journey, NOT ME!

I remember being about 20 pounds into my journey and my boss asked me if I had lost some weight.  It shocked me initially that anybody had noticed.  Then I was filled with pride that someone had noticed.  I used that one very quick two minute conversation as motivation to keep going.  Like a lot of people, my weight loss started at my face and worked its way down.   My wife noticed some emotional changes already as I instantly became more pleasant to be around.  I was really pushing myself more than I had in years to be active, and it brought me joy.  By the end of the first four weeks, I was obsessed with fitness and was walking at least twice a day, typically more.  

The first four months of my journey was amazing. I remember the day in March that I called my dad and told him I’d found something I hadn’t seen for a number of years.  He asked me what that was and my response was, “my feet.”  I could look down and see my feet!  I could sit on my stool, bend over and tie my shoes with my foot flat on the floor!  No longer did I have to struggle to pull my leg up and cross it over my other knee.  No longer did I have to tie my shoe strings on the side because that’s the best I could do. I could tie my shoes right in the middle and I was proud of that! There were frustrating moments too.  I remember one trip to buy new pants.  I had lost about 55 pounds at this point and had not purchased any new clothes.  I looked like a vagabond my clothes were so baggy. I was wearing 38-40 and thought that I should now fit into 34s.  The 34s were still just a little tight. I look at the store clerk and said, “WHY can’t I fit into these 34s yet?  I’m so upset that these don’t fit, you just don’t understand.”  Then I apologized and explained my situation.  I remember my wife explaining to me that most of the weight I had lost was above the beltline. The weight loss hadn’t made it to my waist yet.  I left the store wearing my 38-40s and frustrated.  I had set myself up to buy 34s and didn’t want to settle for 36s.  Yep, I was still wearing baggy pants. 

Remember that song, ”Pants on the Ground”?  Well, I wasn’t far from that. 

When we set out to change our lives, sometimes we STILL have blinders on to reality and that’s OK. I would recommend that we at least have our eyes WIDE open and accept that changes are going to create emotions, as they come into our lives.  Your relationships with your spouse, your children, your co-workers, will change.

Sometimes the emotions of this journey will hit you at a moment when you aren’t expecting it. Below is an excerpt of a blog I wrote over a year ago, but I still remember this day like it was yesterday.  I was on a run in July 2010, when this happened:

…As I got near to the house I was close to 3.5 so I kept running toward the park across the street from my house. I quit running at 3.57 and kept walking as a cool-down period.

This is when the emotions hit me out of the blue. You see, this park I was walking around is where my journey started in December 2009. I started by doing nothing but walking(I’ve said that before) and this park is where I walked nearly EVERY morning for several months, around and around the ‘island’ as I called it. I’ve not walked around this park since I was probably about 230lbs, a completely different man than I am today. It was the strangest thing that I was having “flashbacks” and sort of watching my fat self huff and puff up on the sidewalk as I walked in the street today, seeing myself struggle to keep the walking speed at a rate that would do any good to burn calories. Today I was using this as a nice slow cool down period after running fairly hard for 3.57 miles, I found myself fighting tears this morning, it was the strangest thing, very surreal to experience the whole thing really. Even now as I write this, my eyes fill with tears as I am completely amazed at what has taken place.

Tears filled my eyes as I sat and wrote it all down as soon as I walked in the door after that run.  Like I said, sometimes the emotions will catch you when you least expect it.  That day was amazing for me and I pray that I never forget it.  I also hope that YOU have your moments.  If you are just beginning your journey, maybe this blog will give you a very small window into what you’re about to go through.  If you’re already knee deep, hip deep or arm pit deep into your journey, maybe this blog will bring back a few memories for you.  Yes, this journey you are in has emotions and physical changes so get ready for them.  As a man, sometimes I didn’t face those emotions and deal with them as I should.  I would caution the men who read this to get ready to deal with some unexpected emotions.  Learn from the emotions as they come, confront them, accept them and move forward.  If we push them away, throw them to the side, have we really changed?  Will we do the same things in the future if we don’t understand what is happening on the journey?  I venture to say that if we don’t deal with them, we’ll go right back to where we came from.

I finished that blog with the following paragraph and I’d like to close with that same paragraph today.

I felt it necessary to purge these emotions and share this story to encourage those who might be struggling, those who might want to give up, those who have no/little support to NOT GIVE UP! I didn’t like “watching” myself this morning in those flashbacks, I wasn’t healthy, it was scary. DON’T GIVE UP. DON’T EVER GO BACK.”

Did you experience any emotional change when you started out on your weight-loss journey?

The struggle is real

This hit me in the mouth a few days ago.

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Not gonna lie, I’m struggling with my come back. I’m slow, my lungs hate me, my legs have atrophied, And yes, I’m having trouble holding myself accountable to get out the door. When I walk with Art, not a problem. When I go for a solo run, I have issues. Not like me, I know. But I’ve been completely honest about my journey this far, why stop now. It’s part of me and part of my story.

Yes, we all struggle at some point. The difference is that I’m still doing it and I will keep doing it! I won’t give up because I love that runners high. I love the feeling I get after a run. I love everything about it.

So there you go. Being as honest and real as I know how to be.
I will be fine.
I didn’t post this for sympathy.
I posted this to keep it real.

I did not come THIS far to only come this far!’

What’s your biggest struggle with weight loss

I saw this question posted on FB recently:
What’s your biggest struggle with weight loss

Naturally I had to respond.

Here was my first response to the question:
Change

That’s the single hardest aspect of a life change. I mean, it is more about life change than weight loss, right? I didn’t realize that when I started my journey, but I learned it on the road(literally) Yes, I originally set out to lose weight, which I did and I gained a life I didn’t know existed for me. I had to CHANGE everything about me to get where I am inside and out and I’m so glad I did.

When we change the mindset from losing weight……to changing our lives. Changing our habits. Changing our nutritional choices. Changing our level of activity. It all makes more sense at that point. It’s not about a quick fix, that doesn’t exist, never has, never will. We can’t keep doing the same ole thing and expect new results. Isn’t that the definition of insanity according to Einstein? We must change something if we want to get different results. I don’t mean change for a week. I mean change forever, I’m talking about real change.

So yeah. I guess what I’m saying is that I believe most people(and I talk to several a week) have the biggest issue with change.

So slept on it and had more to say the following morning. That response is below:

I had another thought and after looking at the other responses it fits perfectly.

I wrote a blog after I hit the 100 pounds lost mark where I listed 100 things about losing 100 pounds. (Completely natural btw, no surgery). One of the largest issues I dealt with and it was on my list was this: 99% of weight loss issues happen between the ears!!!

People. It’s not really about weight loss. Yes that is your goal. But when it comes right down to it, it’s about something else. It’s about an addiction you can’t let go of. Or a crutch you will mourn if you let it go. Or it’s about feeding an emotion you don’t want to deal with. Or ….. I could go on and on. I’ve spoken with hundreds of folks around the globe about it. If the head isn’t in the right place, nothing will ever work. There are no powders, potions or pills that can assist with the “change” I spoke about above. I’ll agree that there may be short term results from these “quick fix” gimmicks. But I believe that unless the habits changed, it’s all temporary. Heck, I’m going out on a limb here and I know it, but….. I’ve even seen people who have had weightless surgery gain most of the weight back, because their head wasn’t in the right place.

99% of weight loss issues are between the ears. I believe that if a person does not deal with the emotions, the food addictions, or whatever success will be limited. I realize that everybody is different and there are different methods to the process. I do believe this is crucial for each person to deal with these issues as they come up. Learn your triggers that cause over eating, then learn how to redirect that energy to something else.

Don’t over think the process, weight loss is not rocket science. Just learn from it as you grow forward into your weight loss journey. (End of comments)

So based on my comments, these are probably the top two items I feel people deal with during weight loss. I know everybody is different and the results and struggles will vary. Please also know this is my opinion based on the hundreds of people I’ve worked with or spoken to about their journey.

Thought of the day: 10.15.2014 Courage

Each of you has great courage within you. Use it

Having courage does not mean that you don’t get frightened or intimidated. Having courage means you have the ability to face the fear and ultimately conquer it.

It’s ok to feel fear, that fear will help the courage come out of you, if you will let it.

Fear is a completely natural part of life. Courage is an amazing byproduct of that fear. Sometimes we need a little fear to awaken the courageous warrior within.

After the courage is awake. Put it to use.

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Thought of the day: 10.15.2014 the Season you’re in

The “season” you’re in is what it is. Not every day will be blue skies and rainbows. You’re perspective on that season can be anything you choose to make it.

You will see/hear/react to the season however you wish. Your journey through the season will be exactly as you set it up, based on your perspective.

You have a choice. Either you see and dwell on the negative, or you focus on the positive and stand out in the crowd.

Focusing on the positive can be difficult at times. The “season” may be dark and positive hard to see. Focus on it. Dwell on it. Find the positive and grow forward. The rewards are yours to take.

The “season” you’re in can be as good or bad as you choose to make it. Living with a positive perspective will present you with many rewards.

Go on and get busy reaping those rewards.

Thought for the day. 10.14.2014

Thought of the day:
Stop acting as if you are trying to impress everybody.

Just BE impressive.

Simply being who you really are and being comfortable with that should be enough.

So stop putting energy into something that isn’t authentic or real, just BE who you are.

Put your energy and time into the best investment you can make, the authentic you!

There is real value and worth in that investment.

The “Bike wreck” – the whole story – a month after

I’ve decided to share the whole story because that’s what I do, I share my life with the hopes of inspiring others.

August 2nd, 2014 at about 7:50am or so my buddy Adam and I were on a training ride. We had driven over to White Rock Lake planning a 60 mile ride. We had already completed three easy laps around the lake at an average easy pace of 16 mph is all, super easy ride.

We left the lake and headed north on the White Rock Lake Trail headed toward 635. This isn’t my favorite ride as it’s fairly rough in many places but we do it anyway because it adds miles to the ride. Having already completed 27 miles around the lake the miles heading north should be easy as well.

Mile 28 changed everything. It seemed as if one second I was upright and cruising at 16mph and the next second, I was on the ground not knowing what happened. Here is what we believe happened.

The trail is a paved sidewalk and in most spots it is just barely wide enough for two cyclists coming at each other to pass. Adam was ahead of me as usual, he’s a beast! We were on a slight curve to the left and I hit a patch of mud overflow on the sidewalk. My front wheel slipped out from under me and I landed on my face. I don’t remember, but in talking with Adam, there was somebody coming at me and I couldn’t go around the mud. I know better than to drive into stuff like that on my bike so there was a reason I didn’t go around it. Adam seems to think there were two guys walking that may have been the reason I didn’t go around it. I don’t have a clue honestly, I just know I hit the mud and the hit the ground hard.  I didn’t slide, I had very little road rash, I simply slammed to the ground landing on my left cheek and temple area of my head.

There was a lady who witnessed the wreck and she called 911 immediately. I remember her telling us she thought I was knocked out for about 4 minutes, Adam said it was closer to a minute. Pick a number in between and your guess is better than mine.  Adam said there was no sound out of me except the sound of me hitting the ground. He got his bike stopped, unclipped his pedals and got back to me as quickly as possible. As I started to come to, he said I was sort of talking crazy and asking the same crazy questions over and over. As I sat there and became more aware I started making more sense. The lady who witnessed it told us the ambulance was on the way. I vaguely remember other cyclists riding by asking if I was alright and telling us where the emt’s were on the trail coming to us.

I could tell I was bleeding from my face but couldn’t tell where really. I pulled my phone out of my shirt pocket to call Chelle. She was in Denver at a Bronco game but needed to know. I said something like, ” I’ve had a wreck on my bike. There is a lot of blood from my face. The ambulance is on it’s way”. She said “give the phone to Adam”. She also said, “you do whatever the emt’s ask you to do”. I have no idea how long I sat there on the trail. I never once asked about my bike though, I wasn’t thinking clearly at all.

The emt’s arrived and all I remember is them saying, “sir, we want to take you to the hospital and have your head and face checked out”. My response was “my wife said to do whatever you said” I sat on the gurney and pointed to my RoadID. I asked of they knew what it was. They said yes. I told them that everything they needed to know about me was on that website. They strapped me to the backboard,put on a neck brace and away we went. I heard conversations between the emt’s and Adam about where I was going etc. Emily called me while in the ambulance to make sure I was ok, Chelle had called her to let her know.   I took this selfie because i realized I had no idea how I looked.
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I took this one at the hospital
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and one more after the took off my cycling shirt. They wanted to cut it off, I talked them out of that.
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The photos don’t show the swelling that was in my face very well.  I didn’t have road rash very bad at all, just a few spots on my face.

Can’t remember when I took this one, but it was sometime the week after.  These are really the only spots I had any road rash.  I had one small spot on my shoulder and one on my left knee.
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At Baylor hospital Dallas campus I still had no thought of my bike. No thought of how will I get home. Nothing. I wasn’t “home” if ya know what I mean. They took blood, they gave me a tetanus shot(those hurt). Took X-rays and ct scans. Nothing broken anywhere, no brain bleed or significant swelling. I have no clue how long I was there but I heard from Adam who was looking for me. I am so thankful for that guy!! He showed and was able to ask questions that made sense, I couldn’t.  I sent several messages while in the ER asking for friends to check on Emily since she was home alone.  She was fine after hearing my voice when she called.

At some point a lady walks in from the admittance group. She was asking all kinds of questions. I finally said, wait wait wait, am I being admitted, what’s wrong with me? She explained she needed insurance info etc. I had no idea where my wallet was. I told her to find my RoadID and use that. Everything she needed was there. Adam said they had to find it cause the emt’s had taken it, but she left me alone and used my RoadID. If you don’t have one, get one please.

Upon being released I asked the Dr if I could finish my ride. He told me that I felt up to it, that was ok. Adam asked the nurse I If could run again or what. She said I shouldn’t be left alone. Very conflicting info to say the least.  My primary care MD said the biggest mistake made in the whole incident was at the Baylor ER.  They should have been clear on their instructions.  I convinced Adam I was ok since Emily was home with me.

I didn’t do much over the rest of the weekend rest and recuperate was the goal. Emily and I did go to church where Steven made fun of me. The entire week before we lived in the wilderness on a mountain in Colorado.  No injuries there, but I’m home for 18 hours and fall off my bike.

Monday morning I insisted on doing my scheduled training run with Colleen. I insisted the Dr said if I felt ok, it was ok. Well, I felt ok, so we did 6 miles and I felt fine, until we stopped. I got really dizzy a couple times as we walked to cool down. So I showered and drive to work.

At work my boss walked to my desk and asked if I was ok. I told him I would be fine with time, but I had a headache. At this point he says I turned back to my keyboard, pushed it away from me and started typing on my desk. He then asked why I was typing on my desk, I pulled the keyboard back to me and proceeded to type normally. Now then, I seriously think he made this up. I do not remember this in the least!! I put in a full day and headed home, excited because Chelle and Sydney would be home that night. On my drive home, I blacked out 5 or 6 times. I was in the fast lane and the speed bumps brought me back to reality each time. At the time, I thought I was just exhausted and couldn’t stay awake. I stayed in the fast lane the entire drive home, just in case. That evening after a family reunion, I fell asleep in my chair. I’ve not done this for a while! Chelle tried to wake me up to go to bed and couldn’t wake me up. Tuesday morning at 6:30 she wakes me up saying it’s 6:30 am I going to work. My response was, 6:30 in the morning?? I’m late. I start trying to hurry around. My balance sucked. I was all over the place. She questioned me driving. I explained that I just missed a week of work and I needed to be there. But I promised that if I had issues while driving, I would come home. I got about 1/3 of the way to work and had two blackouts, so I turned around. I called her and she took matters into her capable hands, making dr appointments etc. I told work I wasn’t safe and would keep them posted. Long story shortened, I should have never done the 6mile run, that complicated things. The Dr  took me off work for a week, no driving, very little tv or radio. He wanted me resting my brain so it could heal. I slept a lot that week. Like 18 hours a day!

Since returning to work I still have headaches almost daily. Thankfully my boss is understanding and allows time when I need to go rest my head. I’ve been released to do what fitness I can. Dr says when it starts to hurt, stop. I’ve not done much yet due to the headaches. I’m a month out from the wreck and still deal with headaches and dizzy spells almost daily. The headaches are getting better, not as intense, but still daily. The Dr said that I have a major concussion and time is the best medicine. Patience is not my best virtue so this is a hard lesson to be honest!

Random thoughts since the wreck.
I had no thoughts of my bike for several hours after the wreck. I never asked where it was, was it damaged in the wreck, nothing.  I thought that was funny.
I am thankful for helmets!! If I weren’t wearing one, Adam may have been picking up my skull rather than assisting me as he did. I didn’t even look until Monday evening, but my helmet is cracked in two places.  The pictures are hard to make out, but here they are.
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My bike is ok. Need new tape on the bars is all.

I must thank my wife for taking over when I needed it. She missed work to take me to appointments and did most of the talking, she knew this way the Dr would get the full story.  I tend to sugar coat things so I can get going quicker.. Thanks honey for taking care of me.

Lastly, I am so grateful for Adam and his wife Angela. You guys went above and beyond and I can’t thank you enough. After the wreck, Adam called Angela to meet him at flag pole hill to pick up our bikes. Angela was at home in Cedar Hill and drove the 30 minutes to meet him. They put both bikes in the back of her Honda Fit, after taking off my front tire. Then they drove to Winfrey point to Adam’s truck. Then Adam came to the hospital to help me. I am thankful that you were there for me and did what you did. The more we talk about that day, the more I realize that I was not “home” at all. Thanks Buddy for being a buddy!

So here I am 4 weeks from the wreck and still feeling the affects of that moment in time.  I keep telling myself that it was just that, a moment in time.  That moment may have changed the season I’m living RIGHT NOW, but I refuse to let it change my long term goals.  I’m sure there is a lesson I’m supposed to be learning out of this, patience maybe, I have very little most of the time.  I am getting better slowly and that’s all that matters.

2014 Trek climbing Mount Columbia – Part 1

Written 8.12.2014
Trek dates 7.25-8.1

I had heard a lot about Trek from the youth group kids at church a year ago and I knew I wanted to go!!  A week long trip to Colorado, deep in the mountains hiking, camping and seeing first hand the beauty that God created?!  You bet, sign me up.

My dream came true.  Our Youth Minister Steven asked me to go along and I agreed. I think I was more excited than Emily was.  As the end of July grew closer and closer I began to get nervous….over what to pack!!  I’ll admit, this was way way out of my comfort zone here. Living out of a backpack, carrying my tent on my back, only two shirts for 5 days?!  Oh dear. I was a mess!  I knew for certain that we needed hiking boots and camp cup and a spoon. Ok, that’s a start.  How will I stay warm?  What kind of pants should I pack?  What about Emily what will she wear?   A friend at work loaned me alot of gear and that really helped out. It took me until until the day before the trip to decide, but here is what I came up with.

I bought hiking shoes, cup, bowl as a spoon,fork,knife combo thingy(for both of us). I bought light weight cargo shorts with 5 pockets in them(thinking I could carry ‘stuff”). These were brown to maybe hide some dirt. I found some neon yellow and gray jackets for me and Emily(clearance for $9…SCORE). They weren’t water proof, but I sprayed them to make them resistant atleast. I bought a pair of rain pants to use as my warm pants and rain pants all in one.  I packed 4 pair of borrowed wool socks as well as some of my wicking athletic socks to wear under these. Three pair of undies. Two t shirts. One pair of shorts. I had a borrowed rain jacket and took a hoodie and the new jacket I bought. One long sleeve t-shirt for whatever reason. A few extra socks just because. My crocs to wear around camp. Camera with extra battery(all borrowed). Star gazing map that we never got to use. 12 clif bars as my personal snacks for added fuel as well as flavored water packets. Two 32oz nalgenes for carrying my water. A day pack(small back back) that had an extra water bladder, knife, compass, pens, my Bible, notepad and pen.  One roll of toilet paper(critical to have) and one bag of wipes. Bunch is AA batteries that we didn’t need because everything we took was AAA. I think that’s all I took.

We loaded up on Friday afternoon in a 15 passenger van and headed north west.  There were only 6 kids and 4 adults this year, but it was a great group. We drove to I think it was Clarendon Texas where we stopped for dinner. We had subway, then we crashed the goodwill store looking for suit jackets for summit day.  I’ve never been on a goodwill store but that was fun!!   Back on the road driving as far as Dumas Tx for the night.  I really enjoyed talking with Steven that night. Just sharing our lives and growing together.

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Saturday morning we are up at the crack of dawn for free breakfast at the hotel and on the road again.

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We made several stops including Raton and the state line sign as we entered colorful Colorado. We had a photo op, what can I say.

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After several other stops and we arrived at Team Ascend base camp at the base of Mount Elbert and Twin Lakes. Beautiful to say the least.
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We relaxed for a while in the barn before they started orientation. Setting rules, etc. Then we got our gear. They provide a backpack, sleeping bag and sleeping mat. Now to attempt to get all this stuff in my pack. Have I mentioned that I was out of my element?!  The guides were awesome help as was Zach a huge help for me. About the time I thought I had it done, Steven walks up and says hello food buddy! Excuse me, what’s that?!  He informed me that he and I would be sharing meals and i had to carry half of them. Oh sure, got it!!  Now then we have to carry our tents with our tent buddy. Daniel(my tent buddy) carries our poles while I carried the tent and rain fly. We are separated into two ‘crews’. So now we had pots and pans and cutlery. Cooking stoves with fuel bottles and a crew fly to carry. The crew fly was just a tarp that we sat under to prepare meals and eat. I carried that for my crew as well.  No clue how much my pack weighed but it was heavy. (this is my partially packed pack.
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Dinner Saturday night was at base camp as a practice run cooking with our gear.  We had spaghetti. We cooked the noodles like we would at home, then poured cold sauce out of the jar.  PERFECT.   Woo hoo. Fun stuff really. We laughed and had a good time.
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We had our first Devo that night with a fire. So peaceful being on the mountain singing praises to God.  Off to bed we go to get some shut eye.

This is only the first blog of several I’m working on detailing this trip. It was a remarkable trip that I’m glad I got to take.

Grand Triathlon – my first ever tri

June 7th, 2014 I am getting ready to tri something totally new for me. My first triathlon is tomorrow morning and I’m feeling like a fish out of water. Packing for a Tri is a bigger deal than a typical road race. Swim goggles, swim cap, socks and shoes, helmet, all three numbers are in their proper place. I’m sure it was amazing to watch, if anybody were watching. I was texting and Facebook messaging buddies for help. I finally got it all packed up and headed to bed.
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I didn’t count on getting much sleep, and I was right. Too excited and nervous all at the same time to sleep. I think I might have gotten an hour that night.

June 8th, 3:50am I decided to get up and start getting around. Quick shower, double check my bag, waffle with peanut butter for breakfast. I had time to go see my Cedar Hill Running Club peeps off on their morning run. Emily and I went to pick up Adam and Angela and off to the lake we went.

We arrived about 5:35 and found our way to the transition area. They checked our helmets for safety, bike number and body marked us. They used a sharpie to write our number on our left arm, left leg and our age on our right leg. Alright, off to find some prime real estate for TA. We set up at the entry side of TA to make the climb out of the water shorter. Basically put everything on my pink and white towel in an order that made sense to me. By this time we had found our buddy James and I’d gotten to meet Kyle in person for the first time. We’ve been fb friends for several years, just never met in person. Kyle has been a great mentor to me.
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So now we are just sort of hanging out. Then the weather starts to turn. Looks like rain clouds and the wind is kicking up. Somebody looked at me and said, you need to get your timing chip. Excuse me, my what? We found the table to pick up our chips that strapped to our ankle. Ok, now we are ready. With about 10 minutes before the transition area closed, I took off my shoes and headed to the pre race meeting. We started the meeting off with a short prayer. Very cool I thought!

With lots of different races happening at the same time, it was sort of confusing as they gave instructions. Bottom line for me, swim around the yellow buoys. Take off after the first wave. Got it! Everything else made perfect sense. I just need to survive the water, I kept telling myself. The waves were getting bigger and I was getting nervous. There were motor boats as well as kayaks in the water, that helped calm my nerves a little. We entered the water before we were to start. The water was 79 degrees so it was nice and warm. When we started, I waited a little bit walking out slowly then hit the swim. I quickly realized that I couldn’t see a thing. I also realized the waves were covering me. I think I was swimming really fast to start with cause Adam said I swam right over the top of him. I panicked. Dang it. I panicked big time. I rolled to my back and kicked and floated along. I would roll over and take about 4 strokes then to my back. Around the first buoy wasn’t horrible. Between the bouys was straight into the wind and surf. Holy cow this isn’t good. I’m in panic mode, but I kept moving. Getting blown off course was easy to do. I made it to the second bouy and reached for a kayak to rest. Shortly after I got there, a 10 year old boy and his Dad joined me. I told the boy he was doing a great job and off I went again. I’d drank about half the lake and was sinking fast, atleast it felt like it. I called to another kayak for help and he came right over. I hung on for a bit and told the guy I didn’t think I could finish. Yes, I really said those words outloud. I was in a panic! He looked at me and said, yes you can , I’ll stay right with you. He cheered me all the way in, I could hear him it was kinda cool actually. When I got to where I could walk, I did. I was spent! There were people offering encouragement as we exited the water so I began a slow run up the TA to get ready for the bike. I remember Adam was there and I said, I suck and laughed.

Quickly sat down and dried my feet, socks and shoes on. I don’t use clips so I was in my running shoes. Helmet on and buckled and off I went. Running along side my bike to the mount line. Quick mount and off I go. Grab a gear and get some speed. Well wouldn’t ya know it, now it’s raining. Oh well I’m already wet. I knew I would have mostly head wind out(going south) to the turn around. At times it poured and the wind made the rain sting my skin. Just keep going, that’s all I could do. I spotted another competitor ahead of me. My first thought was “roadkill”. I pumped even harder. I managed to pass 4 on the bike I think. I was shocked that we had a headwind on the way back as well. I managed to hold an average just over 16mph. Not bad in the wind. It was a rather uneventful ride for the most part. It was kind of cool to ride a road I’ve driven many many times.
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Back at TA to take off on the run. Dismount the bike before the line and those first few steps and a little wobbly to say the least. I ran back to my TA setup and toss the bike onto the rack. Helmet off, running cap in and pull my race belt up and off I go.
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The run is a 1.5 mile loop ran twice. I knew my conditioning is not where it needs to be right now, so why did I take off at sub 8 min miles? Thankfully I checked this at about the 1/2 mile mark and adjusted accordingly. The first lap felt good and I was glad to be in my element. I came around for lap 2 and heard James and Emily cheering for me, that always feels good to hear folks cheering for ya. About half way into lap two I developed a side stitch that nearly made me throw up, twice. I literally stopped, I thought sure in was gonna hurl. I’m certain it was all the fish poop trying to make it’s great escape from my body. I stopped at a water station to wash out my mouth, the taste was awful! I told those volunteers “I remember telling people that it’s only a 5k I can do that in my sleep. Ha!! Right, only a 5k at which I had panicked big time on the swim and help just over a 16mph pace with headwinds out and back on the bike. Whew, I had a laugh and took off again. It was cool to see Adam twice on the run as well as my buddy Kyle.
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All in all, I accomplished my goals for my first Triathlon. The first goal was to survive the swim, I did. The second goal was to learn a lot, I did. We hung around for a while before packing up our soaking wet gear at transition and heading to the car.

Post race photo with my buddies Adam and James.
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I did not look at my times as I typically don’t care much. However since this is my first, I must list my splits
Swim – 16:15 (500 yards)
T1 – 2:27
Bike – 44:12 (12.5 miles)
T2 – :57
Run – 28:02
Total time 1:31:55
When I saw the swim time I laughed. I felt like I was I the water for hours. Ha!

Outside of the panic in the water, I had a blast and I can’t wait to do it again!!

Thanks to my family for their continued support as I get closer and closer in my epic goal of being an Ironman. There are many of you who serve as mentors in one form or fashion, thanks for allowing me to pick your brain and soak up your experience.

I have work to do… Let the fun begin.

#betheexample
#findyourpassion
#findyourstrong
#bemore

Kicking May to the curb

If you know me and know my journey, you know I put it all out there. I’m not even gonna lie, May was a tough month for me. I injured my foot during the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon and that sidelined me several weeks. Just as I was ready to take off running again, I got really sick for a full week.

There were other things that happened and those are what I want to share today.

I was reminded how easy it is to fall right back into mindless eating. Yep, I’m guilty as charged. I found myself eating empty calories, food that was just food, no nutritional value for my body. No means of fueling my body, just filling my body. Mindless eating and empty calories get kicked to the curb with as May makes its exit.

I was reminded that my journey is mine, period. Regardless of how many I help. Regardless of how many others I lift up. My journey is mine and nobody can ever take that from me, regardless of how hard they try.

I was reminded that injury will/does happen to all of us. This reminded me that if I am really going to attempt to inspire and lead others, I must share and be open about that. Showing others that I am human is important.

I was reminded that I must pack my lunch for work, every single day. I must be in control of the fuel that goes in my body, period. Eating empty calories and spending money on lunch that I didn’t need to spend ends as May makes its exit.

I learned that I stress over things I can’t control, which causes anxiety. I’ll leave that at just that for now.

I was reminded of the love and support I have at home. I changed my life for my family, to be with my family. It’s not about how many races I can run. It’s about being here for them. Without their support this wouldn’t be worth it.

All in all, May was a tough month. We all have them, whether we are willing to admit we have them is a different story. I have made the choice to learn from these experiences and share them with you.

Good riddance May 2014!