Swimming Daily: Day Zero

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Tomorrow is Day One of my “season.” I don’t know what to call it, these 15 weeks I will be training for my first masters meet. Winter season? Sounds good to me.

I’ve been talking about joining a masters swim team for a long time, and for various reasons and just plain excuses, it never happened. Recently, my husband Dan and I joined a very close by gym that has awesome hours and plenty of options for a workout…including a six-lane, 25 meter pool that has adult-only lap swimming during all the gym’s hours.

That was the final piece of the puzzle. This weekend, I registered with U.S. Masters Swimming and found a meet for which to train (I am going to enter unaffiliated and self-train).

I haven’t seriously trained for races or formally competed since my senior year of school…which was 2007. Since then, I have coached three summer rec seasons for ages 7-14 and I am currently in my third year as head coach of a high school swim team. I truly believe I have a much greater understanding of the sport and of athletics in general. Not only that, but because I have grown as a person and into a young adult since then (moving away from home, making all new friends, losing new friends, major break-up, the death of a mentor, family crisis, student teaching, graduating from college, accepting and quitting my first “professional” job, getting engaged, daily subbing, long term subbing, planning a wedding, lots of moving, getting married, etc., etc.), I am supremely confident I am much more mentally strong than I was when I was last a competitive swimmer. I have no doubt in my mind I will be more focused, more optimistic, and easier on myself without being easy on myself.

The aspect of deciding to train again and enter a meet that scares me the most is how out of shape I am. I am bit afraid of what my times will be like at the meet because I am so out of shape it is going to take a long time, longer than 15 weeks, to be like I used to be. I know that. I just need to know this is the first step.

I know the amount I gained a great deal of weight in college by letting challenges in life get the best of me and not taking care of myself…roughly 60 pounds, to be exact. I wasn’t sure if I was going to discuss the number, but not saying it won’t magically make it go away, and though I’d like to believe it doesn’t look like I gained that much weight if you compare 18 year old me to 24 year old me, I’m sure it actually does. That being said, I have lost 15 pounds since being at my peak weight, and managed to keep them off for some time now. I have stagnated.

I do want to lose weight, and while I hope training helps me with that, that’s not what my training plan is designed around whatsoever. It’s designed for me to swim as fast as possible at that meet on March 29th, 2014. As I’m sure anyone who has been or is a swimmer knows, swimming makes you feel like nothing else. I’ve tried dozens of different workouts since then, but I couldn’t stick to them. After years of exercising as a part of a deliberate training plan with extremely specific and hard-fought goals, doing a 30 minute workout “just because I know it’s good for me” didn’t cut it. I wasn’t motivated, and I hated that I constantly like I was struggling to do a workout and the end result was just…that I completed the workout. Sure, it was a healthy choice, and when exercising is a habit it obviously has extremely positive and worthwhile results, but I want something for my workout besides just losing weight, or looking good, or knowing it’s good for me. I miss TRAINING and pushing myself as hard I as I can…and then harder.

So while I know my times in the meet on March 29th won’t be anywhere near my personal best times, I am psyched to work as hard as I can to get them as close as possible. All the while, I’m going to be documenting my journey on my US Masters Swimming blog and here, at Beagle & Bear. It will be under the series name “Swimming Daily” – daily because of my commitment and of course because it’s my new last name! : )

Off to bed…day one, tomorrow!

My Life: What’s Up

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What’s New:

  • Daniel and I were married in a small, beautiful and perfect ceremony on July 20th, 2013, and then celebrated with an intimate formal reception. I’ll share a link to our professional photos when they are available on our photographer’s site!
  • We went on a mini-moon around Ohio during which we attended minor league baseball games, shopped, went to the movies, ate a lot of delicious food, and visited our alma mater.
  • We had an amazing picnic reception with our extended family and friends on July 27th. Again, I’ll share a link to our professional photos when they are available on our photographer’s site!
  • Back to work and everyday life as newlyweds and we’re loving it!

What I am…

  • Reading: City Girl, Country Vet by Cathy Woodman (not my favorite so far but still enjoying it!) and Truman by David McCullough (loving this, just soooo long!)
  • Watching (TV): Dan & I binge-watched Community earlier this summer and loved it! Now I’m catching up on last season of Parks & Recreation.
  • Watching (movie): On our minimoon, Dan and I saw Pacific Rim, World War Z, and Despicable Me 2. Pacific Rim was all-around entertaining (loved the music!), World War Z totally freaked me out but was awesome, and while I did not enjoy Despicable Me 2 as much as the original, it was cute and funny.
  • Listening to: The Blessed Unrest by Sara Bareilles (beautiful and chill but boosts my mood), The 20/20 Experience by Justin Timberlake (JT can do no wrong), and Pioneer by The Band Perry (my favorite new music purchase of the year!)
  • Doing for fitness: I recently officially became a Tone It Up! member. I had been following the community along from a distance for awhile, and finally decided to take the plunge. After the wedding, things slowed down tremendously and I feel so much more settled and content. I began walking 2-4 miles everyday and eating less processed foods in smaller portions. My anxiety has been much easier to manage and I’ve felt much more positive. Tone It Up! (TIU) is all about eating clean and exercising regularly, so it just felt right for me at this time. I’ll keep you updated on my journey! Loving it so far!
  • Posting: I have a fitness Twitter account I have shared on this blog before, but I changed my username recently from @getfitgetstrong to @kcdaily_fit. In addition to my personal Instagram @beagleandbear (which I am a bit obsessed with), I created a fitness Instagram @beagleandbear_fit for my TIU check-ins and to connect with the TIU community more. Feel free to follow me!
  • Loving: my new running shoes and feeling better running than in the past, the last few weeks of relaxing summer, longs walks with Madison and listening to my favorite podcast, cooking different rice bowl variations, the Cleveland Indians (despite their recent – now broken – losing streak), the approach of a fresh school year, and new pieces of furniture and decor here and there that are making our apartment truly look and feel like home.

What is new with you? 

get fit get strong: the color run

This past Saturday I completed an event called The Color Run. Basically, it’s a 5K held in various locations across the country in order to raise funds for each city’s charity of choice. However, the event is not timed and no prizes are given out. Instead, about every kilometer there is a different “color zone” and the race’s staff throws colored powder at you. By the end of the race, you’re four different colors. At the finish line, there is a countdown and everyone throws colored powder in the air to create a gigantic color cloud…and you get even more colorful, like I was in the picture above! In order to participate in the event, you had to register in a team of four or more. It’s not a relay or anything like that, but it makes the event more of a fun and friendly atmosphere – especially because you get to pick your team name, which is fun!

I registered as a member of Gryffindor with my friend Sarah (pictured above) and some of her sorority sisters. My team mainly walked the event, though we did run (and jump and dance and roll) through the color zones (I’d say something like 1/3-1/4 of the participants walked the event…there were over 8,000 people, so it’s hard to tell for sure!). Afterwards, we took lots of photos, got dusted off (somewhat) by leafblowers via the event staff, and ate lunch. Once I got home, the powder came off pretty easily in the shower. There was some blue on my skin for a couple days…but only because it was the only color that I rolled around in on the ground! A tiny bit of green was in my hair still, too, in its brightest blondest spot (my hair is medium blonde, so very light blonde hair probably would retain the powder longer). It all was gone within a couple of days and showers, though. I did have a moderate migraine for most of the day afterward. I wasn’t sure if I was dehydrated, having caffeine withdrawal, really tired, etc. I tried my usual migraine remedies and the headache wouldn’t quit. I think it might have been from inhaling lots of the powder, as I am sensitive to things like that and was spitting colored salvia after every color zone. Nonetheless, I truly had a blast and I’m glad I did it! Here are photos of Gryffindor before and after the event:

 

 

For more details on The Color Run, read its official “About” page, check out its Pinterest and Facebook, and watch its videos.

*Photos courtesy of my friend Sarah! : )

get fit get strong: where there’s a will, there’s a way

Hello, everyone! How are you? Sorry for missing a Weekly Gems post this weekend – I was   out of town for a girls’ weekend with my friend Elizabeth. We went back to our alma mater for the first time in a year. I missed the campus and city so much, it was great to be back!

 

 

 

A great thing happened today. I was in a weird and tired mood all day yesterday and today, but headed to the gym this evening anyway. The last time I ran, I hadn’t eaten much all day, I kept stumbling on the treadmill, and could barely run for more than four minutes at a time.

Today was different. I slept better last night, ate more but healthy foods throughout the day, and stayed hydrated. When I got to the gym, I went on the elliptical for about 27 minutes (1.9 miles). Then I went on the treadmill. I re-warmed up for about 2 minutes, then started running. Go for 5 minutes then break, I told myself. I was feeling good at the end of 5 minutes, so I increased the speed on the treadmill and thought, do 5 more. And I just kept going. I varied the speed throughout to get a bit of cardio interval-type training going. I  focused on my breathing and kept my iPod on upbeat songs only. AND I RAN FOR 1.25 MILES WITHOUT STOPPING.

I understand that is not a great deal of distance. I also understand my pace was pretty darn slow. However, I don’t think I have ever run that far without stopping. Ever. Not even when I was middle school track and field. Definitely not when I was a varsity athlete in  high school (I believe my mantra was “I’m a swimmer, not a runner!”).

I have a lot of weight to lose to be at a healthy BMI. Yes, changing my diet is hard. Much harder than getting off my butt and exercising. The thing is, I truly enjoy exercising. It’s challenging, though, because I was an athlete. I was in excellent shape, and now I’m not. I’m much further from where I used to be than I ever thought I would be. Though I do get excited when I do well during a workout, it’s extremely bittersweet to be happy about accomplishing fitness tasks I once had mastered or surpassed. That’s why today was so exciting: I accomplished something I never did when I was an athlete. And that probably isn’t because I couldn’t do it when I was in great shape – I never did it because I never pushed myself hard enough to get past my mental roadblocks.

Running 1.25 miles today was great because I did something positive for my body and made forward strides in my quest to be healthy. But it was awesome because it proved that while my athletic ability might have gotten a bit weaker over the years, my mind has gotten nothing but stronger.

 

 

get fit get strong: pump up and power up

 

 

I recently joined a gym. I find it easier to commit to a fitness regimen if I make a specific routine of it that includes the same location for my workouts. I don’t know why I didn’t make this move earlier – in college I hardly ever did homework in my room, I always went to the library or the union to “get in the zone.”

In order to complete the focused frame of mind, I rely on my iPod packed with upbeat music (as does everyone else!). So many different songs can motivate me and put me in a good mood, but the songs that can influence my workout the most are the first and last, or what I like to call the “pump up” and “power up” songs.

My favorite pump up song is “Take Me Out” by Franz Ferdinand. When I swam in high school, I would listen to the song and visualize my race in time to the music. Hearing the song reminds me of getting ready for races and swimming my heart out, and gets my adrenaline up like nothing else.

My favorite power up song is “I’m Free (Heaven Helps the Man)” by Kenny Loggins. As in, the song that is featured in the movie Footloose when the pastor announces he supports the dance and the kids are all driving on their motorcycles to go decorate their dance site. Super 80s and a bit cheesy, but I love it! It just happened to play at the end of my workout a few times, and both its retro style and its positive lyrics (“I’m shaking the past, making the breaks, taking control, if that’s what it takes”) encourage me to finish up strong.

Do you have “power up” and “pump up” songs for working out? Or maybe for projects or big events? What are they?

 

bucket list: summer 2012

All right, so I’ve got summer on my mind (and I think that’s okay; it’s May 10th already!). Every year I usually make a “summer fun list” of things I want to do that summer, though I never shared them through this blog before. After seeing Emily’s post, though, I realized it was silly that I never thought to (especially because I have this series here on Beagle & Bear!). In any case, here’s my Summer 2012 Bucket List!

 

 

  1. Go to as many baseball games as possible.
  2. Visit a Cleveland museum.
  3. Go to dinner at Great Lakes Brewery Company.
  4. Complete a 5K.
  5. See some of these movies.
  6. Visit the Columbus zoo (I haven’t been there since before the Polar Frontier opened!)
  7. Try every group fitness class at the gym I recently joined.
  8. Go to Melt Bar & Grilled, but JUST for drinks and dessert.
  9. Go to a concert and/or camping….whatever happens to work out best!
  10. Bike a total of at least 50 miles on the towpath trail.

Basically, I just want to make my summer full of all things Ohio (including the two cities I spend the most time in, Cleveland and Columbus) while including plenty of entertaining experiences and opportunities for fitness. I can’t wait to start knocking items of this list!

Do you have a summer bucket list? What are you most excited about?

 

new year’s all year 2012: february reflections and march goals







In January I introduced the 2012 New Year’s, All Year Challenge, in which I made broad “endpoints” goals for the year and explained that each month I will make specific small goals that are stepping stones to my endpoint aims. Each month I will also reflect on the previous month’s goals and efforts.


My goals for February were:
  • Health: track food daily; do yoga at least once a week
  • Finances: save specific percentage of each paycheck; open separate wedding fund account
  • Relationships: cook dinner for Grandma; plan presents and cards for birthdays in March
  • Wedding: set a date for engagement photos; research vendors
  • Career: sub 3-4 times a week; reflect on swim season and start prepping for swim team award night
  • Self-enrichment: Cook and bake more

Reflections on February:
I did well with my goals for career (subbing is going well and swimming ended nicely), wedding (we might have our reception venue chosen!), saving money, and planning out gifts. While I continued to eat decently the majority of the time and attend Zumba when I was able to, I did not do much yoga in February. Also, while I did spend time with my grandma, I was not able to cook a nice dinner for her last month. Similarly, I wasn’t able to bake as much as I would have liked. I hope that I will be able to do more (or all!) of these activities in March, as it seems there will be more time since swim season and all post-season work (except for awards night!) is complete now. All that being said…


My goals for March are:
  • Health: get enough sleep; stay hydrated
  • Finances: keep saving money
  • Relationships: complete as many little acts of kindness as possible – like cooking dinner for my grandma, for instance ; )
  • Wedding: continue researching and meeting with vendors and start booking them
  • Career: read more articles and books related to my content area (social studies)
  • Self-enrichment: volunteer – hopefully at the local animal shelter

Do you have any goals for 2012? How are they going? Any for last month? What are your goals for March? It’s not too late to become part of the challenge!! : ) Shoot me an email if you decide to join in.





new year’s all year 2012: january reflections and february goals

Hello, everyone! Has your February gotten off to a good start? So far, mine is going pretty well!

Last month I introduced the 2012 New Year’s, All Year Challenge, in which I made broad “endpoints” goals for the year and explained that each month I will make specific small goals that are stepping stones to my endpoint aims. Each month I will also reflect on the previous month’s goals and efforts.
My January goals were as follows:
  • Health: track food daily; workout three times a week
  • Finances: save specific percentage of all paychecks
  • Relationships: e-mail out-of-town friends; prepare for Dan and I’s three year anniversary
  • Wedding: research vendors in the two locations where Dan and I are interested in holding our wedding
  • Career: prepare for the end of swim season and substitute frequently
  • Self-enrichment: blog much more often
Reflections on January:
I feel as though I did pretty well with these goals! I have been using SparkPeople to track my food, although I have not been disciplined enough in tracking daily (probably only around 3-4 days a week). Tracking my food helped me realize my daily breakfast was too small, and increasing its size helped me stay full longer and eat healthier throughout the day. I did not workout as often as I liked due to my busy schedule with subbing and coaching, but I did get to Zumba classes more than I did in December and greatly enjoyed myself. My finances are doing decently, my relationships are healthy, I’ve been blogging more often than I had in past months, and I have been working hard at coaching and subbing. The most exciting achievement in January was wedding-related: Dan and I decided where we will be having our wedding! We were debating between Bowling Green (where we went to school and met) and Cleveland (my hometown). We will be getting married in Cleveland! : )
My goals for February are:
  • Health: track food daily; do yoga at least once a week
  • Finances: save specific percentage of each paycheck; open separate wedding fund account
  • Relationships: cook dinner for Grandma; plan presents and cards for birthdays in March
  • Wedding: set a date for engagement photos; research vendors
  • Career: sub 3-4 times a week; reflect on swim season and start prepping for swim team award night
  • Self-enrichment: Cook and bake more

Do you have any goals for 2012 or any for January? How are they going? What are your goals for February? It’s not too late to become part of the challenge!! : ) Shoot me an email if you decide to join in.




*If for some reason you are having trouble leaving a comment, please e-mail me at beagleandbear@yahoo.com or leave me a comment on Beagle and Bear’s Facebook page. Thanks for your help with this issue!

things that are making me happy

  • The screenshot above – it cracks me up every time I read it!
  • Watching wild animal segments on my favorite morning shows (like Good Morning America and Live with Kelly)
  • Nights spent simply chatting with hilarious and supportive friends
  • Curling up with my Kindle and a big cup of tea
  • Going to pick up my wedding dress, trying it on, and having to order the next size down instead : )
  • Delicious meals at my favorite local restaurants (like here and here)
  • Awesome performances by my swimmers at an invitational meet this past Saturday
  • A new pair of gray boots and a gray and white jacket from my fiancé
  • Hearing favorite songs on the radio
  • Breaks in the crazy winter weather that make it easier to walk the dogs

What’s been making you happy lately?


*If for some reason you are having trouble leaving a comment, please e-mail me at beagleandbear@yahoo.com or leave me a comment on Beagle and Bear’s Facebook page. Thanks for your help with this issue!

get fit get strong & bookmark it: fitblrs

While I haven’t been as consistent with my efforts as I want to be, or able to fulfill all of my goals, I am working hard to become more fit and healthy. Lately, on the days when I just don’t feel like working out, or I am thinking about giving in to some extra cookies, I have been looking to the Internet for motivation.
I usually go to Pinterest or Twitter where I follow fitness experts, magazines, and other people like myself who are working to get into shape. Recently, though, I discovered “fitblrs,” or tumblrs dedicated to fitness inspiration. The following four were my favorites of the ones I found:
Do you use the Internet or your smartphone to motivate your fitness goals and routine? How so?
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