Wednesday, May 14, 2014

10 Life Lessons I learned from doing an Iron Man

So my workout partner found this awesome blog Pass the Fresh 
and they were having this challenge..... 

I would have two weeks to complete 2.4 miles swimming, 112 miles of biking and 26.2 miles of running/walking.  My husband and daughters have competed in several triathlons while I cheered them on from the sidelines.  I was always too afraid of trying because I have never learned how to swim.  In the past two years, I have taught myself how to back float (sort of). I would bike and run with the girls in training but swimming was not my thing.  When my friend suggested that we should do this challenge, I was at a point that I was willing to "TRI".  My first thought was there is no way I can do the full Iron Man but maybe I could do the Sprint or the Olympic.  I was so amazed as I began the two weeks, how many Life Lessons I learned from this experience.

Don't let FEAR stop you from achieving your dreams.  For so long, I have been afraid of water. I have missed out on many fun opportunities because of being afraid. My dad use to always tell me "Face the Fear and do it anyway". I think that is what I did.  I saw the pool and I was afraid but I jumped in and did it anyway.  AND it took me a long time but I did it!! I learned that sometimes I am not only afraid of not accomplishing something great but sometimes I am also afraid of accomplishing something great.  Hope that makes senses.  We sometimes set up ourselves up for failure just because we are afraid of trying!!!  

 ALWAYS have a friend who will ENCOURAGE YOU.  This journey would have been incredible hard had I not had my workout partner with me through this journey.  When I reached the Olympic distance (.93 mile swim, 25 mile bike and 6.2 mile run/walk) I realized that I did more than I thought I could.  When my friend said that she had accomplished more I to wanted to do more.  It wasn't a jealousy or competitive issue it was a "I want to do that too".  She encouraged me when I felt like I couldn't go anymore.  She cheered me on when I accomplished something great. She told me I could do one more lap or one more mile.  In life we all need good friends and those who ENCOURAGE US!!

On the first Saturday of the challenge, I went to the pool to swim some laps.  My thinking felt strong and I wanted to do as many laps as I could with the 50 minutes I had before the pool closed.  When it was time to leave I was shocked that I had swam 14 laps. In life we settle, don't accomplish or don't finish our goals because We think we CAN'T!  This lesson taught me that I really can do more than I think I can.

 There is OPPOSITION in ALL GOALS and DREAMS!!!! Okay maybe that isn't really true but it sure felt so too me with this challenge.  I have to admit I didn't start out very strong the first week.  I got news that my Aunt had passed away and decided to travel to Arizona with my sister and my 4 kids for the funeral.  We were leaving on Thursday and would return Saturday.  That would be two and half days that I would not be able to exercise the majority of the day, if at all.  The hotels we were staying at had pools so I decided I would swim laps each day and also brought my running shoes so I could run to be able to work on my goal.  We arrived Thursday night to find that the pool was under construction and that I was too tired to run.  I got up the next morning late but decided I would still go out and run a mile or so.  We left after the funeral and arrived at the next hotel to find it was out of order for cleaning! Are you kidding?  The last day of the competition I still had to bike 26 miles.  I decided I would wake up at 6:00 and head to our gym that is at our Public Swimming Pool and bike til the kids had to go to school.  (BTW you can get more miles per time biking on a stationary bike than on a road bike or mountain bike.)  When I got there the bikes didn't work.  I felt almost hopeless because I knew there was no way I could bike 26 miles pulling my kids in the trailer.  The most I had done doing that was 10 miles in a day.  HA HA see Life Lesson #3.  I got home before my husband left for work and he was able to hook up my bike to his brother's bike trainer so I could finish my miles.  It was an all day event while still taking care of my little ones.

Size doesn't matter!!!  For most of my life I have been overweight.  Still active but still overweight.  I really thought that in order do anything athletic, especially a Triathlon,  you had to be a size 4 or look like an athlete.  I am grateful for learning this lesson that although being healthy and thinner is one of my goals that SIZE should not stop you from trying to reach your dreams and goals!  It may take you longer than the size 4 girl next to you in the gym but she is just trying to reach her dreams and goals too!!  Encourage her on as well.  

Being a mom and having young children is not an excuse.  I just had a baby seven months ago and in the past I have always used my kids as an excuse.  I am too tired to exercise I was up with the baby all night.  I can't reach that dream because I have to take care of my children's needs.  I can't say this enough....  It is so important to take care of yourself so that you can take care of your children.  It's ok to take a break and do something you love.  You will be a better mom for it.  I will be eternally grateful for my oldest daughter who watched my little ones so I could exercise.  I am also so grateful that my kids exercised right along with me.  They would go on walks and bike rides with me to get my miles in.  My sweet little 3 year old biked so much with me that one day I went to buckle her in the bike trailer and she screamed "NO MOM, PLEASE MOM DON'T MAKE ME RIDE IN THE TRAILER AGAIN!!!  (112 MILES is a lot of miles to ride in bike trailer.)

DON'T PROCRASTINATE. Just like the lessons I learned that there is Opposition in all things, I learned that procrastination gets you no where.  I had two full weeks to accomplish the iron man and unfortunately, I left half of it to do in three days. Every muscle and body part hurt.  The first day, I divided each event miles and figured out how much I would have to do each day to accomplish this goal.  Had I stuck with each days goal (6.5 laps of swimming, 9.3 miles of biking and 1.87 miles of running/walking) it would have been a much easier task then trying to bike 26 miles the last day.

When it hurts, there are things that can help. Ibuprofen can ease the pain.  A hot bath releases some aches and pains.  Resting is important.  Keeping hydrated is the key.  Telling others what you are doing can keep you energized.  (I don't like to share lot on face book, but it was fun to hear people encouraging me when I felt like I was never going to finish)

Hard Work never hurt anyone.  (ESPECIALLY ME) These two weeks of working out was hard work for me.  It was hard to keep myself motivated to do the iron man as well as keep up with the day to day stuff.  I was never perfect at it.  I was so glad that I did something that felt hard for me. It was good to push me farther than I ever thought possible.

Get up and Get Moving!!!  Stop sitting on the sidelines of life and get up and LIVE.  Whether it is accomplishing a health goal, saving money for the dream house, searching for the dream job, living life to the fullest, GET UP and DO IT!!!  Life is too short to not accomplish something you have dreamed of doing.  It may take time, hard work, others, a lot of pain, stopping the excuses, but YOU CAN DO IT!!!  You can really can!!!

I did it!!! In two weeks, I accomplished the FULL IRON MAN!  It was a great feeling.  It was great to accomplish a goal.  One step at a time. One box at a time!!

Achieve your goals!!!

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  1. Way to go Jan!!!!!!! That is AWESOME!!!! You totally motivated me!! You are amazing!! XO

  2. You are amazing Jan!!! Thank you so much for sharing!


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