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

Posts tagged ‘Rant’

Why I Will Never Put Away My Scale

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Yes. I do. Ten, in fact. Ten to be pleased with myself, five to exit panic mode.

“But Lady J,” you say. “You look great! Why are you obsessing about a number?”

You’re damn right. I’m fine as hell. And thank you, by the way. But this 10 that must be rid of came on in TWO. WEEKS. Yes, the past two weeks have involved carb loading for a race, an upper respiratory infection, and a sprained ankle, and I’m also winding down in what has been an insane school year. No matter.

But my clothes feel fine.

Don’t get it twisted. I feel pretty miserable. I could very easily attribute that to my maladies and lack of exercise. However, I haven’t been eating well and I knew that the scale would read a higher number than I like. But 10 pounds? I would have NEVER guessed my debauchery has been that bad.

There are some who advocate judging your current state by how you feel generally and how your clothes feel. I’m betting I would have had to gain another 5 pounds before my clothes started to feel different. 10 is bad enough, but 15? No thanks.

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Many proponents of not looking at the scale also are of the thinking that you should not beat yourself up. To them I say, “What if you’re full of shit?” I know that I’ve been falling short of what is best for my body. I don’t deserve hugs and kisses for gaining 10 pounds. I need to tighten the F up and deal with it. I know better and did not choose to do better. Am I going to berate myself for two weeks of bad decisions? Probably. But so help me God, those 10 will be off by the end of the month. Sanity and self-love be damned.

‘Murka – Land of the Free, Home of the Ig’nant

Welp. It happened. I saw something politically related on Facebook that moved me to the blog. It was a post that appealed to me as musician, athlete, and citizen. Juicy.

 

National Anthem Question

I’ll go ahead and share my own opinion – yes, of course. Few things unite people in the way that music and sports do. We may be playing/cheering for different interests, but we’re doing it in a country that we all support in one way or another. I have to quiet the music teacher in me whenever I see or hear someone not showing respect for both country AND performer. Our anthem is quite difficult to sing well and the effort should be appreciated and applauded with exemplary performance etiquette. Each time I hear it performed at a sporting event, I feel proud of both my country and my self-control for not punching some rude jackass in the face.

So I made a poor decision. I clicked on the comments.

I was not surprised to see people say that if you don’t want it performed at sporting events, you should leave America. Love it or leave it, blah blah blah. However, this particular comment offended me because of its implications and attempt to connect things that are unrelated:

Americans are being asked to give up too much because our way offends people who have come to our land. America accepts all who come and want to be free. If our laws and ways are not what you want then leave. America was good enough for you to leave where you came from so stop asking us to change what our country was founded on. If you had chosen any other country to go to would you ask them to change and not sing their National Anthem? No because they would kick your butts out of their country. So leave us alone to sing our National Anthem and observe our religious freedoms to pray when and where we want to.”

Sigh. I’m going to hit the parts that bother me in ascending level of personal offense.

1. If you had chosen any other country to go to would you ask them to change and not sing their National Anthem? No because they would kick your butts out of their country.

Any other country? So if you went to the United Kingdom, France, Russia – and you said you didn’t like that the national anthem was performed before a sporting event, they would revoke your citizenship/visa. That’s how that works. Okay. Sure, you might get some looks,  but you can get those same looks here. Hell, I might give that look to someone who said that to me. When you or I expresses an opinion, it does not infringe upon the rights of others. You can safely express your opinion in several other countries aside from the United States without fear of deportation.

2.  Stop asking us to change what our country was founded on.

Let me make sure that I understand you, ma’am – our country was founded on the right to listen to the National Anthem at Sunday’s game? Is that what you’re saying? I hope you will allow me to assume that what you are actually talking about is what you see as the erosion of open displays of patriotism. This is the same line of thinking that if you say anything is wrong with America that you hate it. You threw in a line about religious freedom (which I will address in just a moment), so I am sure you will appreciate this:

For whom the Lord loves He chastens,
And scourges every son whom He receives. (Hebrews 12:6 NKJV)

That’s right. If someone who claims to love you is not calling you out when you’re screwing up, s(he) doesn’t love you. Full stop. If you are in the type of relationship with your country where you love it blindly, you don’t know your country. There are many fantastic things about America, and there is nowhere I would rather be. That doesn’t mean I can’t see what needs improvement and I hope to be able to work with others to do so. Indeed, those who founded our country had many an argument about what was best for America. Does that mean they didn’t love it? I doubt you would say so.

 3. So leave us alone to sing our National Anthem and observe our religious freedoms to pray when and where we want to.

You know what’s great about the National Anthem? Well – real talk – at least the first verse of it, anyhow. It unites people who love America and different sports teams and different gods or maybe no god at all. I have my babies dissect the lyrics of the song as soon as we start learning how to sing it – no mention of God, religion, or faith. Just pretty lights and bravery. Did you only want to be united in the United States with people who believe the same things as you do? I have to wonder what you see the point of singing the anthem is. I am a practicing Christian and if someone told me he thought singing the National Anthem before sporting events was inappropriate, I would just think he was stupid. I feel my right to practice Christianity is perfectly safe from an idiot like that. Come on, people. Not every discussion is DEFCON 1. I would guess that the bottom line for you would be tradition, and there is nothing wrong with tradition unless it is unquestioned tradition for tradition’s sake.

Tradition.

Tradition.

4. Americans are being asked to give up too much because our way offends people who have come to our land.

Jesus take the wheel keyboard. Please.

The implication here is hardly subtle, folks. If you don’t want the National Anthem sung, it’s because you’re not a real American. You know what fake Americans tend to have a lot of? Melanin. I am a daughter of an immigrant whom I got to watch happily stand among others, equally elated, to sing the National Anthem and wave the American flag as a naturalized citizen. I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing many naturalization ceremonies and I have not seen ONE person who wasn’t amped to embrace his/her new country and its traditions. Not. One. In fact, you know the only people I know of that don’t want to sing the National Anthem? People whose faith prevents them from doing so. They come in many colors, and I haven’ t even heard of an instance where they’ve advocated for no one singing the anthem simply because they don’t do it. They simply choose not to participate and respectfully sit out. Sounds like a well-functioning country to me.

I’m going to go ahead and call it how I see it. This isn’t REALLY a problem about the right to enjoy/perform the National Anthem. This is a problem about people having different opinions/beliefs. If you want to be a racist xenophobe, you’re free to do so. You can even wrap it up in patriotism and pretend you “just love America.” Please, enjoy your right to be a jackass with little consequence.

 

Joan’sAugusta70.3TrainingPlan.docx – Protecting My Relationship from Others

As I said in my previous post, fitness and I have a good thing going. I am doing my best to not sabotage it. I think it would be pretty paranoid of me to think that other people want to sabotage it solely for the sake of bringing me down. Quite frankly, I am too much of a cynic to believe that people care about those around them that much.

That being said, I strongly believe that people need to feel that they are living right, whether they are or not. Humans will go to great lengths to justify their choices. Generally, the easiest way to do so is to judge the choices of others. Since the beginning of my journey, I’ve noticed that people who do this fit into one of two categories.

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1. People who wish they had the strength to take a risk

Let’s get this out of the way first – I do not think I am better than anyone else. I believe some of the choices I’ve made have put me in a good place. I humbly walk for I know that it is God who empowers me to make good choices for my life. I am fully aware that it is only He who stands between me and all the crap that earthly life has to offer. There is no day that I don’t need His grace to make a single good decision. Full stop.

All right, that’s done. This is America. Damn near everyone is on some diet. When I started my 21 day challenge in January 2013, I was doing my patriotic duty. It’s practically illegal to be an American woman without a body image problem. Fast forward to May 2014 and now I appear to be on the other side of that problem to many. I cannot emphasize appear enough. I’ve maintained that because I’ve been at a healthy weight twice before and gained it back both times, I feel like I’m a big girl who happens to be fit at the moment. More on that later.

I think the heart of this issue is one of belonging. We all have a need to feel that we belong somewhere. I no longer consider myself to be a member of the Women’s Dieting And Complaining About Myself Constantly club. While I know that my company is missed (I am a good time, after all), I know that most negative sentiment comes from the fact that others want to renounce their membership in the WDACAMC. The only way to do it is to be good to yourself – which is really scary if you are not used to doing so. Yeah, people are lazy and it takes real planning to eat right and exercise. I can only speak to my personal experience, but it wasn’t until recently that I believed that I am worth taking care of because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I love myself by taking care of my body and the world is a lot brighter. My circumstance didn’t change. I did. Rock on.

It is much easier for me to identify with people calling me skinny and saying they can’t stand me because I’ve been there. I’ve wondered how people get fit and it seemed like magic. So I’ve got much more patience for type 1 than for this:

2. People who make the right decisions with the wrong motivation, or who think everyone should think like they do

But Lady J, you ask. Who are you to determine whether someone’s motivation is right or wrong? Well, I actually think it’s pretty simple. If you don’t seem to be at peace, there’s likely a good reason for it. Either someone is tormenting you or you are tormenting yourself. My therapist mom says it best – hurt people hurt people.

I think the people who had finished long before I did at St. Anthony’s last week and remarked that I had entirely too much energy fall into this category. Why on earth would you open your mouth and say that someone shouldn’t be smiling so much? Oh, I know! Because you’re a jackass caught off guard by a reaction to which you are not accustomed. I was ready to ask them how their races went and they totally were acting like they didn’t just accomplish something awesome. I get it – if something didn’t go as well as you had hoped, you allow yourself to wallow. But I don’t even know if that’s the case with these jokers because the first thing out of their mouths was “you didn’t work hard enough.” Followed by the obligatory ‘j/k’, of course. I can’t stand when people say jerky stuff and then don’t have the ovaries to stand by it, then attempt to soften it with pretending they were joking. If you’re a jackass learning and growing human being, be yourself.

There are athletes who expect to podium each race. There are athletes who aspire to do so some day. Meanwhile, this girl is pleased to conquer her fears and discover all she is capable of when she trusts God. One would think there is room for all of us – Lord knows I’m only taking up space in the back, hah! Maybe triathlon is like school and it’s more fun in the back? Who knows. All I know is that I value my relationship way too much to be brought down by ignorance.

I’m pleased to say that for once – I’m going to listen to God and protect myself. Make no mistake. My heart is in this.

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Some People Suck But God is Good: Race Report, Part II

While that may have been the most exhilarating 3 hours, 51 minutes, and 11 seconds of my life, I feel compelled to comment on the 1% I disliked. This, too, contributed to the learning experience and is of note.

1. To the chick on the bike who passed me somewhere between miles 5 and 10 who felt the need to tell me to stay on the right. Yes, “sweetie,” as you called me so endearingly. I know I need to stay on the right, but I saw yo’ crazy ass trying to pass me on the right during a bloody turn. Me and Red Rocket are trying to stay together.

2. To the bystander dude just before mile 1 on the run, who shouted “Good Effort!” as I ran by. Good effort?! Dammit I’m a teacher and I can’t think of when those words have passed my lips. You want to know why? Because it’s what you tell someone when they are sucking. I’m straight with the babies in a way that is much less condescending and still honest. This is not a good effort, fool! Don’t you see me winning?! I look great!

3. This is going to get its own post in the coming days. You know, I like life. And I wasn’t sure I was going to have one between the horn and the finish line. So when I crossed it, I was super happy. Shoot, I am still giggling when I think about it. As I retrieved my belongings, my energy was observed by others. Apparently I didn’t leave all I had on the course – otherwise, I wouldn’t be smiling. I wasn’t aware I was supposed to be miserable when it’s all done. I suppose I should have read my training notes more closely. I am just a beginner, after all. Forgive me for racing incorrectly. I promise next time I will be more bitter at the finish line.

But for now:

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Dear Triathlon, thanks for helping me become a better teacher: Part II

In my last post, I expressed disdain for what I view as a lame attempt to encourage people to progress regardless of their current state as a runner. I am of the philosophy that life is not meant to be compartmentalized, so whatever I lesson(s) I take from one facet of my life, I work to see how I can apply it to another. The gentleman who wrote this article forced me to reflect on how I must appear as a teacher. I pray that I don’t seem as distant as this guy seemed to me, but that’s probably not always the case.

As a music teacher, I see myself as a link between my students and the music they want to play. I want to be in the way as little as possible. There is no more heart-wrenching time in my classroom than when they are be evaluated. I give them a specific set of criteria to play the instrument and they stand in front of their classmates and get it done or not. I love several things about this experience, but among my favorites is how my students very rarely disparage one another. “You can do it!” when a classmate is hesitating. “Just do your best!” and of course, “Good job!” regardless of how they finished. These people really get it – that crossing the finish line, irrespective of the manner in which it is done, is to be respected.

However, the students that don’t play well – they know that they don’t play well. They feel like I feel as a new triathlete. It sucks to feel like 99% of the world is better than you are. Often, there are tears. Naturally, their friends will rush to comfort them. But their friends who are playing the hell out of Hot Cross Buns offer little solace to the poor soul who is still not sure where B is on the recorder. I imagine that this is because the student feels, however irrationally, that they should be where their friends are. I guess since I’m the teacher I should probably step in at this point. The conversation generally goes something like this:

Me: Why are you crying?
Kid: I suck.
Me: What makes you think you suck?
Kid: I hear everyone else and they sound better than I do.
Me: Do you want to sound better than you do?
Kid: Yeah.
Me: Don’t worry about them. How they do does not affect you. Do your best for you. Let’s talk about what we can do to make you even better.

Unless my arsenal of encouragement is running super low, I avoid saying things like “I was where you were.” “I feel like you feel.” You know why? Because in that context, I’m the elite musician. I appear too distant to be relatable. I just shut up and show them what I know how to do and remind them they are perfectly capable of doing so. If they are willing to take a risk, they improve. Everyone wins. The kid feels better, until the next time, of course.

“But Lady J,” you ask. “You say that it is irrational to expect yourself to be where your peers are at any given time. Why do you still prefer to train by yourself?” Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know that it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert at something and I have
about 9,900 to go in terms of triathlon. Unlike my adorable young musicians, I’ve got a fully grown ego. I know exactly what’s going on and I still don’t care. I recognize that I am not yet strong enough to keep going without being discouraged by the 99% if I’m around them too often. There is strength in acknowledging your weaknesses, no? I’m quite sure most will say the things my classmates will say. “You can do it!” “Do your best!” Well, I will, and, I know. If I don’t know you well, quite frankly, it rings hollow.

Maybe that’s why I have such a problem with this guy who wrote the article. I don’t believe it’s possible to encourage someone genuinely or effectively without either A) establishing trust or B) reminding the mentee to have reasonable expectations.

If you are not skilled in the art of encouragement, go somewhere and sit down: Part I

Last week, I read an article in Women’s Running Magazine that reminded me of why I prefer to run by myself. I know my natural tendency is toward cynic, so I tried reading it several times looking for the good. While the author hardly states you should quit unless you run an 8 minute mile, I found myself shaking my head at something new each time. I’m just going to quote some of my favorite parts here.

1. “I get it. You run 12 or 15 minutes per mile and are embarrassed to call yourself a runner because a lot of people are faster. Here’s a secret: “fast” runners feel the same way.”

Perhaps faster runners are loath to call themselves fast, or elite runners call themselves as such. But they are still calling themselves runners. I am positive that I am not the only one of my 12-15 minute mile comrades who has been observed “jogging” by others when they are sprinting for their very lives. Sorry “fast” runners, can’t empathize with you here.

2. “There is no difference between the runner who breaks 30 minutes for the 5K for the first time and the one that breaks 16 minutes. Both worked hard, sacrificed to achieve their goal, and experienced the same challenges.
That means all runners can relate to each other, no matter their speed.”

Thank God that I did not run (rimshot!) into this article any earlier than I did. Had I read this as the elated, first time 5k 40 minute finisher I once was, I would have been devastated that this (likely) well-intentioned writer did not see me as a runner. If the idea is to encourage people to think past fast or slow, why bother mentioning times in this context?

3. “There’s no need to preface any of your questions or thoughts about running with “I am slow.” I’m fast and I face the same challenges and fears. All runners do.”

First, why is the author prefacing his thought with the fact he’s fast if it doesn’t matter? Yes, given his personal times he’s mentioned in the article, he is fast. I thought the point of the article was to get past that kind of thinking. Moreover, because everyone is at a different place in their running, it IS important to discuss pace when running with someone else even if you don’t want to attach adjectives to it. Yes, my speed work can be someone’s easy day. Will that make me a better runner? Highly likely. Will it make me feel better, as I had gathered the point was? Absolutely not.

I will give the author some props. He does say negative self-talk is unproductive. True. Saying that you’re slow isn’t exactly the most effective way to get faster. But what is the point of improving? To be able to say you’re fast like this dude? In my opinion, that’s pretty small minded.

Guess what? If you run significantly faster than I do, I’m not going to relate to you. I will respect you, I will admire you, I might even look up to you. If you’re not a jerk about it, I probably will want to learn how you got to be as awesome as you are. Please, don’t patronize me. I am where I am. Now run along.

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