I Am Worth More

And so are you.

It is no secret that I have struggled with my eating and it is no secret that I will sometimes binge on very unhealthy or even healthy foods. It’s all emotional, I try to eat my feelings and make them go away. I want the negative feelings and emotions to be numb. For some crazy reason I honestly think eating large quantities of food will make that happen. Well guess what?? It wont. It just makes me feel worse. Not only are the original feelings there, I just hurt my efforts to loose weight and be healthy. So why do it at all?? 

I started telling myself that I am worth more. I am worth more than eating to cover up my feelings. I am worth more than calories that will not help me achieve my goals. I am worth more than unhealthy foods. And I promise you are worth more too.  

The Struggle Is Real

I have a strong love-hate relationship with my body. There are many reasons to love it, yet my mind goes more towards the reasons to hate it. My PCOS is the main reason behind why I hate it. It just makes my efforts to be as healthy as I can be harder. I am struggling with my weight right now and mentally it’s super hard. Weight comes on so easily and quickly for me and it takes twice as long to take the weight off. It’s a struggle that is very frustrating and very HARD. 

This time last year I was roughly 25 pounds lighter than I currently am. I honestly have no idea how the weight gain happened, it certainly wasn’t a conscience effort. And I certainly wish it didn’t happen. The only choice I have now is to take the weight off, again. But the thought of doing that is daunting, especially with the holidays coming. So what’s a gal to do??? I really have no idea. I feel kinda lost and I don’t like it. 

Relationships Are Hard

Part of life is having relationships with other people. Every single one has its ups and downs, every single one. Experience has shown me that if you and your partner/spouse have different hobbies and past times, things are harder. You tend to be friends with people who have the same interests as you, but when  you are married and there are no hobbies in common (or very few) it’s just harder. It takes more work than you ever think it should. But, as with training, hard work pays off. Stay committed and don’t give up. And communicate, a lot. Communication has got to be the single most important thing. The cool thing with communication is that it just isn’t talking, communication comes in many forms. We all know that actions speak louder than words. Make sure those actions are loving and caring toward the ones you love. 

I Don’t Want To

When I woke up this morning I immediately said to myself “I don’t want to get up, I don’t want to workout, I want to sleep”.  And this is no different than the past few days. I am just tired and I need to rest. But that is so hard for me and so unhealthy for me. Rest is so important for the mind,body and sole. 

There are days when I just don’t want to work out, and I force myself and I am glad I did. The past few days I didn’t want to work out, I did anyway and I was exhausted all day long. That tells me that I actually need to rest. So today, I am sitting on the couch and drinking coffee (and writing this). I am allowing my body to rest for today and I am hoping I wake up in a different mind set tomorrow morning. 

Augusta 70.3 Race Recap

It was Sunday September 27, 2015. I woke up just before 5am and started to get ready to start my day and my second Half Ironman. I tried as hard as I could not to wake my mom, daughter, friend Becki and her son. As I came out of the bathroom and started to get my things out of the hotel room door I heard my mom say “it’s not time to get up, we have to go back to sleep.” And all I thought was I am going to pretend I did not hear that. I managed to get my transition bag, wetsuit, bike pump and gallon of water out the door around 5:15 and headed down for some pre-race breakfast and coffee. The lobby was buzzing with athletes and the energy was strong. I eat a few hard boiled eggs even though my stomach was in knots. And I drank some coffee, hoping the caffeine would calm me somehow, no luck on that. Around 5:30 I decided to head to the transition area to set up my things and meet my friend Stacy. I started walking (hotel was only 1 mile from the transition area). It was dark, the sidewalk was full of cracks and I was getting more and more nervous with each step. The closer I got, the more athletes and supporters of athletes I saw. The energy around me was growing rapidly. Finally I reached the transition area and found my spot. Yesterday, after athlete check in we had to bring our bikes to the transition area and “rack them”. It makes it much easier on race day, all you have is your gear. Anyway, I found my bike and began to set up my little spot in the world. I was chatting with some other gals that were also setting up their spots and it was nice to hear that others were just as nervous as I was. The plan was to meet my friend Stacy who was only 2 spots away from me in transition and then travel back to the swim start with her. After I was done pumping up my tires and setting myself up for the day Stacy came. It was so good to see a familiar face. She set her stuff up and then we went to find her friend Gary. We found him and then headed to the busses to get to the swim start. We had to wait in a rather long line for the busses and I started talking to two gals behind me. It was their first half ironman and they were nervous but ready. The wait for the bus seemed to take forever, but in reality it was not that long. We got on the bus and rode about 1 mile to the riverfront area where the swim started. Stacy had to hussle back to her hotel to drop off her bag and get her wetsuit, goggles and swim cap. I chose to stay at the riverfront. I walked into the church that was close by, used the ladies room and made it to the riverfront in time to see the first wave of swimmers start. I missed the singing of the national anthem and the paratroopers coming down, I was disappointed at that. But I could not change it. After the first wave started I realized I needed to get my wetsuit on and head down towards the front because my wave was starting soon. The first wave started at 7:30 and my wave was at 7:54. That was about an hour earlier than last year, I was very happy about that. It means I didn’t have to wait like last year. But it also meant I had to hussle down because my wave was starting to line up. Stacy and I were in the same wave and I didn’t see her anywhere. I was getting nervous for her. When I got to the line up area I saw a friend of Stacys, Heather. Heather was concerned that she was not there yet as well. I stayed toward the back of the pack in hopes of seeing her. While waiting I had a mild panic attack because I could not remember how to get my Garmin watch on auto multisport mode. A gentlemen helped me who was not racing, but his hands were shaking (he was very nervous) as he was pushing buttons on my watch. It made me nervous, but I didn’t have time to care. A minute or two later she came, she had plenty of time, but she was hustling to get her wetsuit, cap and goggles on. We then saw her friend Lucy who wished us luck. And then we started down the ramp to the dock. We wished each other luck and went our separate ways. We immediately got in the water and our race was about to begin. 

Getting in the Savannah River is always interesting. You never know two things, how cold the water is and how strong the current is. This year, the water was really cold and I immediately thought I was happy I have a full wetsuit. We had about 1 minute to get used to the water as we were holding on to the dock. That minute went by super fast and the horn blew. We were off. I made my way to the left side of the course, it was the closest to the middle of the river and the current was faster. Swimming with the current is awesome. You still swim,but the current carries you a lot. Swimming 1.2 miles is a very long way. About half way through I was convinced I would be swimming forever. I just told myself to keep going and I would be there soon. And I was right. Before I knew it I was coming out of the water. I was greatful to see volunteers helping us up and onto the transition mat. The end of the swim was rocky and it was hard to get my footing. As soon as I was going up the ramp to transition I heard my name. Mom, Becki and the kids were there to see me at the end of the swim and to start my bike. That made me super happy. After I saw them I was trying to pull my wetsuit zipper down. I could not get a hold of the zipper string and I asked some random spectator to unzip my wetsuit. He happily complied and I started to peel it off down to my waist. I made my way around the corner to the wet suit strippers. As I approached them they said, “butt on the ground, legs in the air” and I happily complied (and giggled a little, okay, a lot). They peeled that wetsuit off so darn fast. And then they helped me up!! The swim was officially over and I was headed towards my bike. 

As I was in transition getting my bike ready I realized I had to go to the bathroom. But I decided to just ignore it and hoped it would go away (stay tuned, that was a bad idea). I dried off my feet and put on my cycling socks, my sunglasses and helmet, grabbed my bike and headed out to ride. Just after getting on my bike I heard Becki yell for me and I saw mom and the kids on my right. Becki was on my left trying to get a picture but she couldn’t get it because I was riding too fast😊. 

The bike course is so beautiful in Augusta, most of it is done in South Carolina and it is full of farms and beautiful scenery. Remember how I ignored the need to use the port-a-potty?? Yeah, it caught up to me quickly on the bike. I still had to go at mile 15 and I had not taken one sip of water because I had to go so bad. When I came up to the first bike aid station I decided to stop to relieve myself. I hate stopping for that reason, but I knew I would be in trouble if I didn’t. I was very happy to see the first aid station around mile 20. And as soon as I got back on my bike I was very thankful that I stopped. The bike course has some hills, but it’s not bad. The area where I train has more hills, so I know I can handle this course with no problem. The one thing that I don’t like about the bike course is the condition of the roads in some areas. At 2 different sections along the rolling 56 miles the road is just rough. It’s not full of pot wholes, it’s just rough road. It’s like there are cracks in the road and the road has buckled a little. Not only does your tush hurt more while riding in these sections, you have to pray you don’t get a flat. There were a few sections that I was super concerned about getting a flat, but thankfully that did not happen. Around mile 50 I was ready to get off my bike, I wanted to run. The last 6 miles seemed to take forever. I made it back to transition with no problems and I was thankful for a good ride. 

Transition from the bike to the run went well. Nothing too exciting happened, I did change my socks and take Advil. Nothing hurt, it was a preventative measure. I put on my fuel belt, race number belt, running shoes and took off for the 13.1 mile run. 

The run started off great, my legs were ready to run and so were my mind and the rest of my body. Just after mile 1 I saw my support crew, Mom, Becki and the kids were cheering and it was so fantastic to see them. As I made my way through the first few miles I kept saying just make it to mile 6 and then you can walk. I saw my support crew at least one more time before mile 6. They were awesome and saw me at all different parts on the run. Around miles 3, 4 and into 5 we were running in the heart of downtown Augusta and the crowd support was amazing. Everyone was cheering and yelling and the energy was amazing. Then between miles 6 through 8 the crowds die down. There are still people cheering and yelling, but it’s not the same as in the downtown area. Around mile 6 my stomach was feeling full of liquid and I could feel it all moving around. So I decided to walk some. I ended up walking most of miles 6 and 7. My stomach needed to calm down. I only drank water at the aid stations and that helped. I started running again at mile 8 and I felt good. I am not sure at while miles I saw my support crew, I do know that at one of them Becki was Face Timing with her mom and sister who were in Kenya. I could hear them cheering for me and it was so cool. I believe that was between miles 8 and 9, but I am really not sure.  Remember Lucy, Stacy’s friend we saw just before the swim start? Well she and her husband were at a ton of different places along the run route. I think I saw them 5-6 times. At one point I said to “you guys are everywhere”. It made me so happy to see them. As I was running through the crowd support for the last time in downtown Augusta people kept saying that they remembered me from my first loop I was looking strong and good. That was huge boost and it just made me go faster. At mile 11 I looked at my watch and saw my total time was around 6 hours. My goal was to beat my time from last year and if I ran the last 2 miles I could achieve that goal. My crew was at mile 12 and I was so happy to say I only had one more mile. I made the turn to the finish line and the energy was incredible!! I could feel the energy from the crowd and from the athletes who already finished and were cheering others on. I saw the finishing chute and I just ran as fast as my body would allow. And then I heard those words “Janel Brooks has successfully completed her half ironman here in Augusta”. Music to my ears!!

What’s The Point

Today is Friday and I leave for Augusta Georgia this afternoon. My second Half Ironman is in 2 days. And what’s the point?? Why do I do this?? My brain has been in a million different places for the last two weeks. Everything from self doubt, to I can totally do this and every emotion and thought in between. It drive me crazy and I am sure my husband would say the same thing. So whats the point?? Why the hell do I  do these races and why the hell to I get up at 5 in the morning everyday to train?? What’s the point??

I have done of thinking about this lately and this morning it hit me, the finish line. The point of doing all of this is the finish line. Crossing the finish line is the biggest adrenaline rush and the biggest feeling of accomplishment. It’s not the medal, or the t-shirt, or the race pictures. It’s the feeling. The feeling of crossing the finish line and knowing what I just completed.  The months of training and getting up at 5, the early Saturday morning long runs and Sunday morning long ride, they all paid off. And the feeling of accomplishing a goal feels fantastic. It’s that feeling that keeps me coming back for more. My mom has said many times “don’t ever let anyone take away what you have accomplished and achieved.” And she is totally right, no matter what happens I know that I successfully completed a Half Ironman and hopefully on Sunday I’ll be able to say I completed two. 

It’s Almost Time

Taper will start soon as my second Half Ironman approaches. My longest training ride and run are over!! What about the swim?? Well, there in lies a problem. I made a dumb decision this year, I choose to not swim much in training for this race. It was not a conscious choice, there were just other things that needed to get done. Swimming is the hardest for me to fit in. I have to do it right after work because that is really the only time I have to do it. All my rides and runs are first thing in the morning. It always seems like getting ready and planning to swim are the hardest for me. So week after week I just said “oh, I’ll do it next week” or “I’ll start swimming on this date”. Well, here we are only a few weeks from the race and I have not swam since my last race about a month ago. You’d think I would be freaking out, and I sort of am. But here’s why I am not, I know I can swim the distance and the current in the river is strong. Last year I really didn’t swim at all, I moved my arms, and kicked a little, but I really feel like the river carried me the whole way. But still, I did not prepare as I should have for the swim portion of this race. And that makes me nervous. Even if I did train I would still be nervous. It’s just the way I am.  

My lack of swim training is not the only reason I am nervous, there are many reasons. The biggest one is that I weigh at least 10 lbs more than I did this time last year. Weight can make a huge difference in training and racing. Ten pounds can be the difference between me beating my time from last year and not. It definitely makes all of your tri suits look worse than they already did. They do not hide or cover up anything. The logical question is how/why did I gain the weight? Well, it was not a conscious decision either. Life has been stressful, work has been very stressful and I am a stress eater. My training is at its peak and my metabolism is raging and I am hungry all the time. And I do mean all the time. It’s crazy the way our bodies work. My goal is to eat healthy foods and not overeat. I also need to stop eating after dinner. That is the hard part for me. Eating after dinner is when I do the most damage to myself. So I will be aware of what I am doing after dinner and I will be making the right decisions. I do not want to sabotage myself like I have done in the past. So I am going to eat healthy food, not step on the scale and hope for the best.