I do it, and I do it big. Here's to not forgetting about it.

Posts tagged ‘Balance’

What’s the word on 2015?

Though I did not write about it in my blog, I did have a theme word for 2015. 

Balance.

How did I do, you ask? Well – it was tough. All of my resolutions revolved around achieving better balance, whether they were spiritual or financial. I found that there were things that I had wanted to do that I took for granted – for example, I assumed I would practice and train more than I actually did. I feel that I actually made the greatest strides financially. By the time the year ended, I had studied my insurance and 401k plans more carefully. I gave like I wanted to (to church). I saved so that partnering with Adonis, we will not take on any debt for our nuptial thingy. I suppose that because I was so laser focused on the money thing I failed with balance on the others. I’m still messy as hell. Still beat up on myself. Still difficult to discipline myself to read my Bible daily. Oh, still struggling to eat right. Sooooo I’m 1 for 6? Did I fail 2015? 

I’m not sure. I’m still here, I guess. That must mean something. 

  
God’s grace is sufficient. Let’s see if I am able to see any of 2016 right side up. 

Who am I?

The Last 8 Months of My Life

By Lady J 

  1. Completed a Half-Ironman
  2. Signed up for a Full Ironman
  3. Met a Full Man
  4. Agreed to marry the Full Man
  5. Decided not to do the Full Ironman

I’ve also gone to work but that’s not really cogent here. 

I really am at peace with the decision not to race long distances for now, but something happened yesterday that I am not proud of. At. All. 

I couldn’t find my Garmin. 

I look at my engagement ring all the time and I smile, knowing how very different my life and outlook were just a short time ago. But – but…this. Not being able to find my triathlon watch may not be a mortal sin, but it’s definitely a venial one. My relationship with training is injured. Well – so am I, although I like to pretend that I am not. As I frantically looked for my watch, I realized that the last time I remembered running was at my last race two weeks prior. That’s freaking ridiculous. Yes, I have been making it to boot camp and eating fairly well (until a few days ago – it’s birthday season aaaaand PMS), but surely not training as I once did. While it is kind of nice working out no more than once a day, I should be uploading stats on training more than once a month. For serious. 

I even feel a little guilty for 2 of the last race reports! It’s like…it’s like I care about Adonis more than I do my watch. I did find it, by the way. It had just dropped from my nightstand and was between it and my bed. Though it may sound weird, I wasn’t only relieved because I didn’t lose a REALLY expensive watch. It means that I haven’t lost myself, which is something I’ve (perhaps irrationally) feared could happen if I got married. 

I am 100% happy that my life is 100% different. The transition is just scary sometimes. I am looking forward to learning how not to flip out when I have to adjust to new circumstances. I must admit I am not really looking forward to figuring out exactly how I’m going to do my next triathlon (holy crap it has been 8 months), but I will need some help. I’m not the greatest with balance or trust, qualities I’m pretty sure Mrs. Lady J will need to lean upon heavily. 

Here’s to not getting fat while making that happen. 

  
 

The Importance of Hydration: Pre-Race Report

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Water is kind of a big deal. We’re made of it. The world is made of it. Yet it is often a fight to force ourselves to consume enough of it to keep us healthy – unless, of course, you are a student looking for an excuse to get out of the classroom. My babies can’t get enough water. I’ve found that the earlier I begin drinking water during the day, the easier it is for me to drink it. Moreover, the more I drink it, the more I appreciate it.

There are some times I crave water more than others, however. Water is never so good to me as it is while I am running. Of course, because life is HILARIOUS, it’s also not particularly convenient to drink while running. I hate carrying anything with me as I run, though I know that if I don’t, the results will be ugly. Then I will curse both water and running and a vicious cycle can occur if I don’t choose to simply HTFU.

The more I need something, the more I tend to resent it. So it has been with my relationship with running since I last had a race. That run was brutal. I was secretly glad for my overuse injury as it gave me a valid excuse to take a break from running. I used the elliptical for a few weeks as a sad, sad substitution. I returned to running with some resignation. “Do I remember how to do this? Why am I doing this? IT. IS. SO. HOT.” I was able to force myself through one 10 mile run prior to leaving for Chicago, which I’m positive I wouldn’t have done had I not had this race and wanted to feel halfway good about it.

Then I saw her.

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Ooh, baby. The starting line. I cannot see a starting line of a running race without my eyes brimming with tears. I was filled with joy as I remembered why I love to run. I love the chance to show myself what I am capable of when I do my best. I love to surprise myself. I love that I have an imperfect body that can do perfect things like run 13.1 miles! The starting line is just that – a chance to begin again and to give thanks for the gifts of life and health.

It frightens me how easily I can forget this. A little pain, a bit of discomfort – can cause us to take so much for granted. When we don’t hydrate properly, it is too simple to think that maybe we just don’t need it like we once thought. Suddenly, we are reminded by fatigue that this is not an option. Likewise, when we take the time to count our blessings, we realize that this too is something we should do regularly. We can then remember why it is we need something or even someone in our lives, and hopefully do our best to nurture it.

I guess what I’m saying is that you should hug your running shoes while you have the chance.

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Ms. IronPianist – Joan Of All Trades, Master of None

I am blessed to have a circle circles of extraordinarily talented and capable people around me. Their gifts and strengths are diverse, and I count myself thankful that I have no one in my life from whom I cannot learn. Appreciative though I may be, I find myself sad at times. As I float in and out of my circles, there is not one in which I feel completely comfortable. I struggle with feeling like an outsider, and I often wonder if doing less would alleviate my feeling disconnected.

Ms. – The Teacher

One might think that having two degrees in separate fields of music teaching would make me feel like I know what the hell I’m doing. Quite the opposite, actually. I am far from the first person to realize that the more you learn, the more you realize you don’t know much of anything. I give special recognition to teaching for being the area in which I feel doubly inadequate; both parading myself in front of 25 pairs of eager eyes and sharing what makes the most sense to me with one willing child. Most of my colleagues whom I would call friends have been teaching for significantly longer than I have. Much of that has to do with the fact that they went into music education in school before I did. I’m always late to everything!

Iron – The Triathlete

So, I’ve been doing triathlons for about 5 minutes in relation to my life of music. I call myself a triathlete unapologetically because it’s what I do. I have a coach. I eat to fuel for the sport. I train to improve. I complete races. Don’t think there’s anything missing, except the awesome, naturally. It would be unreasonable for me to expect to be a beast at these beginning stages, but it doesn’t stop me from noticing that everyone around me is faster. I would imagine that most have more experience, not unlike my colleagues, but I still fight with the thoughts that I don’t belong and that no matter how good I get, they – and it doesn’t matter whom they are – will always be stronger and faster.

Pianist – Duh.

I have a lot of emotion wrapped up in being a pianist. More so than either teaching or triathlon. While I am still a novice triathlete and even a young teacher, it’s fair to say I am a seasoned pianist. I have little tolerance for people who say “I’m not that good!” with false humility, so I won’t do that here. I’m well-trained and get things done. After 25 years of playing, I should. And there’s the rub. Could I be doing even better? I look at bios of other pianists and they seem extraordinarily more polished and impressive than mine. Where did I go wrong?

Joan

The choice to pursue all three of my major interests as an adult means that I cannot give all of my time to any one of them. I must admit that part of me is relieved, in that somewhere in my twisted brain my being a pianist is an excuse for my not being fast. “I could have trained to get faster but I had to practice!” I’m always shielding myself from accusations of inadequacy or mediocrity – accusations that I don’t think have ever come. “But you guys are thinking it, I swear! You think that I suck and you just smile and pretend to be my friend because I’m cute and witty.” I’m a head case.

But I can’t imagine my life without any of the three. All of them are ways to express the joy and full life for which I am so grateful. The grandness of playing Brahms will never be like crossing a finish line, which will never be like seeing a child’s eyes light up as s(he) is exposed to something for the first time. I am so blessed and humbled that I get to do all of these things.

I will never know if I am good enough. I’m not even sure if I’m doing the best I can with the gifts God has given me. I just know that I am better than I was yesterday.

I pray that’s enough.

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No, wait, it is all about me.

So, all my talk about thinking about others was crap. My bad.

I have a piano student (I’ll call her Faith) that I’ve been concerned about for a while now. She and her best friend were born 2 days apart and have known each other their whole lives. I’ve been privileged to teach them both but saw quickly that the besty was – and still is – progressing much faster. I’ve worried that Faith would see and hear how much more advanced the besty is and become discouraged or jealous. Moreover, parents love to compare notes (see what I just did there?) and all I want is for everyone to live and grow harmoniously (I just did it again!).

I make a concerted (okay, I’ll stop – probably) effort to not make mention of any other student during my private lessons for this reason. Everyone is on his or her own path, and I want to ensure that my babies are focused on their own growth and no one else’s. I want them to hear each other play so they hone keen listening skills and can appreciate and uplift each other, but I’ve had a teacher or two directly compare me to another student and I found it devastating. If I’m doing my best – what else can I do?

There are many virtues I’ve taken from music and applied to endurance sports. Persistence. Courage. Humility. However, a stark difference occurred to me as I was in the middle of the race, talking to myself as I normally do. I started to say something to myself that I often say to myself as I am practicing the piano.

“Joan. You don’t have to go so fast. It’s not like this is a…shit.”

There actually is a first place. Aaaaaaand you get it by being the fastest. How – different.

I wish I could say that it didn’t bother me that I am the slowest person in either of my peer groups. No matter that I’ve been racing for about 5 minutes. It still sucks to feel like the loser. It frightens me to think that one day this won’t be the case and I could be one of those people who thinks, “Thank God I’m not the slow one anymore!” Gross. I would rather come in last forever than relish in the fact that I am not the slowest. Aim higher, people.

How does one deal with this? Recognizing and appreciating that there are people who are better while simultaneously recognizing and appreciating your own strength?

I’ve got to shut them out.

Not completely, of course. I still want to cheer them on and celebrate their victories. But I am on my ass about this all the time. “Self, did you do your best?” “Yes.” “Then STFU and celebrate victory.” See, I didn’t even say YOUR victory. Victory. Full stop.

It is important to me that I progress. What a relief for an overachiever like me that I have NO FREAKING CLUE at what rate I am “supposed” to progress. Thank God I’ve got a wise triathlon coach who doesn’t compare me to her other clients and allows me to grow at my own pace. All I can see is the next stroke/revolution/step in front of me. And I make it and take it. Like a freaking champ.

My baby Faith is also a freaking champ. I’ve had to help her through a couple of moments where she wasn’t doing her best because she wasn’t sure it was good enough. I know she hears the besty and part of her wonders why she is not where she is even though they started at the same time. No matter. She’ll never be as good as she can be if she’s not putting in the time. Now, Faith is progressing more quickly – not because of being motivated by the besty, but because she sees how well she can do when she applies herself fully.

Me too, Faith. Me too.

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