Monday, December 31, 2012

The Highs and Lows of 2012: A Year in Review

2012 has been a series of highs and lows all year long.  The highs have been really high and the lows have been really low.  It has also been a year of big changes.  Change is always hard, but for the most part as one door closes, another one opens.  Work changes, school changes, coaching changes, and the changes that come with having pets have kept me in a constant state of adaptation.  Athletically, 2012 was a year of huge gains and huge losses.  I am still struggling to come to terms that most of my fitness that I worked years to achieve has basically disappeared in the last five months. Maybe I was overtrained, maybe I was over reaching, maybe I really needed the break to heal, recover, and start the process of rebuilding.  We will see what happens in 2013.  So here is just a year in review.  

January:  High

Ran the Houston Marathon in sub 4 hours and took 17 minutes off of my previous marathon time. 

February:  Low

Dealing with the sad fact that I made less money than a member of an office cleaning crew at my job.  My W-4 arrived in my mailbox and I knew I had to dump my job that kept 60% of what people paid to do personal training with me.  But how could I just leave and abandon my clients, some who had been working with me for twelve years, and move to another gym that they were not a member of?  Calf muscle issues that popped up in the Houston Marathon are keeping me from running too far without pain. My hives flare back up.

March:  High

I went to California and attended a fitness business conference and gained the confidence that if I moved to a new location, my clients would move with me.  I had a great run in California.  The hives are still bothering me.

April:  Low

My kid had a grand mal seizure in the back of my parents car on the way to a fishing trip while I was in Galveston with my athletes I had been coaching for the Memorial Hermann 70.3 Ironman.  After many CT scans, MRIs, and doctors visits, he is diagnosed with Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy.  Calf muscle issues are keeping from running very far.  I’m not getting my miles in to train for my next race. The hives are pretty bad this month.  My doc cannot figure it out and he thinks it is tied to my kidney function.

May:  High

I get to go to St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands with my athletes that I have been coaching for the St. Croix 70.3 Ironman.  Frankie selects me to be his dog-mom and take him to his forever home.  I leave my job at the “Big Box” gym when they sell to a no-name company that doesn’t know how to run a gym.

June:  High/Low

I run the San Diego Rock n’ Roll marathon and take six more minutes off my marathon PR.  I miss qualifying for the Boston Marathon by 2 minutes and 8 seconds, my time spent in the port-o-cans.  My right calf is so jacked up, I am unable to walk without pain for almost two weeks.  My son turns 14 and gets to go to swim camp and band camp. The hives are still around.

July:  High/Low

My kid gets to attend a brass band camp and meets his private lesson trumpet instructor.  I begin working for myself out of a great fitness studio less than 3 miles from the “big box” gym.  Many of my clients follow me to my new location.  I try to get my running going again after five weeks off and my calf gets jacked up again.  I cannot run further than 5-6 miles without being in a lot of pain.

August:  Low

I injure my right shoulder on a cable machine doing chest presses.  I am in incredible pain until I trip in my kitchen and pop something in my back and the pain suddenly goes away.  I am not if pain, but I am unable to raise my right arm. Driving and keeping my hand on the steering wheel is exhausting.  The air conditioning unit in the attic leaks bad enough to go through the master bath and come out of the ceiling of the first floor.  We discover where the leak that caused the mold in the master bath came from.  The master bath will need to be gutted and repaired.  The hives are bad again.

September:  Low

I still cannot raise my arm and running is painful.  I am unable to run further than two miles without being in pain and feeling like a python is wrapped around my chest.  My dad is diagnosed with stage 2 colo-rectal cancer. 

October:  Low

My back is always tight and sore.  I cannot raise my arm.  It feels like I have no power to raise it up.  I cannot run further than a mile and a half without feeling like someone is driving a knife down between my collar bone and shoulder and up under my shoulder blade.  I have an MRI on my shoulder that comes back clean.  No answers on why I cannot raise my arm. The hot water heater in the attic leaks and overflows.  The master bedroom ceiling needs to be pulled down and repaired.  My dad begins his radiation and chemotherapy.

November:  Low/High

My kid fails Algebra.  I have to make the hard decision to give up on training to run the Houston Marathon.  I get to go to Cozumel, Mexico to watch one of my coached athletes take two hours off his Ironman time to hit a new PR.  One week of beach therapy.

December:  Low/High

I return home to learn that I need to open up my heart for two more abused animals.  Lil’ Sis and Kitty gain a new home and learn all about having a forever home and a new big Greyhound brother.  I start cooking lessons that I received for my birthday and I love my Thursday evenings. My kid is still failing Algebra and other classes are in danger.  I am sweating my ass off to learn Algebra to help my kid learn it and to pass the semester.   Bud makes 4th chair trumpet in the Freshman Region Band, third chair in his school Symphonic Band, and passes Algebra!  I have an MRI on my cervical spine to figure out why I still cannot raise my arm over my head but I have more range of motion.  No results yet.  I have not been running, lifting weights, cycling, or swimming in months. 

So here are my resolutions for 2013:

  1. Participate in more events for fun than I did last year.  That shouldn’t be too hard since I only did two events.
  2. Regain my health and fitness.  I have to see what is up with my neck before I make solid plans.  I at least want to be able to raise my arm over my head with ease.
  3. Fix my nutrition.  I will be cutting out refined sugar and refined grains out of my diet for five to six days a week and then, only small amounts on the other days.  Other things will happen, but I will start with those.
  4. Be more involved with my kid’s grades.  I was focused on other things and did not keep up with his grades and he failed Algebra.  It was living hell trying to get him back on track and passing for the semester.  It won’t happen again.
  5. Give myself a break.  I will be taking some of the pressure off of myself to be perfect because I really am not good at being perfect and it just sets me up to disappoint people.  I’m just going to focus on doing what I can do within my limits and learning to say “no” to requests of my time and service.
  6. Repair the master bath and bedroom.  Get rid of stuff.

Thank you to those people who have been a great support to me even if you don’t think that you had an influence in my life whatsoever.  Robin Campbell, Sylvia Harris, Kim Orr, and Andrea Ward, you ladies have such powerfully positive attitudes and posts or phone calls have helped put a smile on my face or buoyed my spirit when it was low.

Thank you to my coach, Anthony Humpage, for pushing me further and making me run faster than I ever would have thought was possible and then being understanding when I couldn’t run.  The train might have derailed, but the cars are being uprighted, the spill is being contained, and the cars will be put back on the tracks.

Thank you to my kid for providing me with so much joy as I got to watch some amazing swimming and attend some spectacular concerts. I am very proud of you.

Thank you to my assistant coach, Audree Begay, for reaching those athletes that I cannot reach and helping me get everyone physically and mentally ready for their 70.3 race.  Oceanside is going to be a blast!

Thank you to my personal training and Pilates clients for being willing to change as I moved to a better work situation.  It may not have been smooth at times or convenient, but now it feels like we are back on track and moving forward.  More great things are to come in 2013.

Thank you to my husband for letting me have the pets to bring excitement into the house, for the cooking lessons that I really enjoy, the opportunity to have some beach therapy when I needed it, and the times when you are home and clean up after my messes in the kitchen and around the house.  One day I will clean out the house and get rid of everything so that we can live like monks.  Be patient.

Thank you to my good friends Cathy Breig, Rachelle Little, Kendall Gray, and John Vigil for the fun adventures, the hugs when I needed them, the extra cowbell after my (or my kid’s) victories, and letting me moan and whine while I figured out my next move.  Even though we don’t see each other as much as we used to in the past, when we do get to chat or see each other, it is like we just saw each other last week.  Here is hoping that I get to make a trip to Denver, Vegas, or to a race we will both be doing in 2013.  

And not to be forgotten, thank you to you, the reader, for taking the time to sit and read this.  I know that I have been really bad at updating my blog this past year, but there was not much that I wanted to write about.  Who wants to write about their crappy run workouts that have to be scrapped after two miles?  Not much at all has taken place in terms of triathlon or cycling, but hopefully there will be some running adventures in 2013.

Happy New Year!  Let’s see what 2013 has in store for me.

Coach Liz

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

10/2 and My Life With Cancer

10/2 is not just another day for me.  10/2 is not just the day that Lance Armstrong was diagnosed with cancer fifteen years ago.  10/2 was the day I found out twenty years ago that my mother had cancer.  I became a care giver over the next ten years and I also began my involvement with Team in Training.

Until you have sat with a person while they receive their chemo, you really cannot appreciate the care that the doctors and nurses give to cancer patients.  Until you have driven a person home from a bone marrow aspiration, you really cannot appreciate the volunteers at the hospital that wait with your friend or family member as you go run to get the car.  Until you have had to make the decision to allow Hospice to transport your friend or family member from the house to the Hospice Center, you really cannot appreciate the compassion that the Hospice team has for your friend or family member and also for you.

I know what it is like to clean a long line.  I know what it is like to have to suit up in a special gown, gloves, and face mask to enter a clean room.  I know what it is like to walk laps around the floor with the bags of magic juice hanging off the IV pole.  I know what it is like to help someone with their wig.

There are also a lot of things that I know that I wish I could forget.

And for the last ten years of the past twelve, I used those things to drive me to fundraise money and race for those who could not.  I used those things to inspire other people to fundraise money and to get out of their comfort zone and do something that they thought was impossible.

And just when I was almost ready to throw in the towel and back off a bit, to cut myself some slack about the bad run workouts and the nagging shoulder pain, I found out that cancer is back in my life like a malignant tumor that was found in a screening.  I found out that my dad has been diagnosed with colon cancer.

We are taking it in stride.  It was caught early.  The chemotherapy and radiation will only last six weeks.  The oncology doctor is close.  The surgery will take place around the holidays.

My aches and pains are minuscule to this.  I have no room to whine or complain.  I just need to HTFU and go run.  And I did run.  I ran 5 miles on Sunday and it felt better.  My calves were tight, but they were not sore the day after.  I lost a pound, possibly two and I was able to wear a skirt I bought last March, and had yet to wear, out to the symphony over the weekend.  I was even able to eat a small meal and not bust any seams!  I even was able to resist the free frozen yogurt at the deli tonight where I enjoyed a huge bowl of chicken soup instead.

Cancer sucks.  It really does.  It sucks.

So, cancer is a part of my life.  It has shaped me into the person that I am today.  Frankly, I think that I am better off today than I was 12 years ago or 20 years ago before cancer.  It won't go away and neither will I.

Later Gators,


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Good, no one is reading this...


It has been so long since I have been posting on a regular basis that no one is reading my blog anymore.  Dose anyone even read blogs anymore?  I know that people read Speedo Steve and DC Rainmaker because they give away cool crap and post cute baby pics or have killer gear reviews.

But who cares about seeing pictures of a goofy greyhound or reading about some chick who is a middle of the pack runner/triathlete/mom?  NO ONE.

That means I can write whatever I want on my blog now and no one is going to even look at it.  That is kind of cool.  It is almost liberating.  That means I can skip the spell check and no one would call me on the carpet for forgetting that the letter i, comes before e, except after the letter c.

Ok, so I started swinging the kettlebells around again.  I am weak.  Between the shoulder injury, not being able to run for several weeks, and a general lack of fitness I am sore and flabby.  It sucks.  But my goal is to loose those 5 lbs. that have crept back on my hips over the past three months.  To all of my friends who, if they would just lay off the alcohol for a few weeks, could drop ten pounds in one moon suck.  I love you, but it kills me that all you would have to do is lay off the sauce and the weight melts off.  I have to increase my workouts to 90-180 minutes, 6 days a week, cut back on my portions and servings and I struggle to loose two pounds.  Oh yes, I heard you.  I know I look fine and that no one can tell I have gained weight.

But I know I have gained weight.  My clothes don't fit right or don't fit at all.  And I am slower than I was when I was 5-7 pounds lighter.  Running paces that were once easy are now challenging.  That sucks.  Really sucks.

I could blame hormones, the injury, or not working as much now teaching classes versus doing personal training.  But that would be a cop-out.  It boils down to just being lazy and unmotivated.

OK, here is the deal.  I have 8 weeks until I hop on an flight to go to Cozumel with one of my athletes that I have been coaching.  I have to be able to fit back into my favorite board shorts.  I have to eat better.  I have to stay away from the foods that screw up my system.  I have to stick to my training plan.  At that point I will be 8 weeks out from my marathon and by that time I had better be running better than I am now.

It is all out there.  Well, only for me.  No one else is reading this so the only person who is going to hold me accountable is me.  **GULP**  Ok, time to swing the kettlebells around again.



Sunday, September 23, 2012

OMG, I'm posting!

Yeah, yeah, yeah.  I know.  It has been four months.  I'm sure you thought that I had written off this blog, no pun intended.  Maybe you thought that I had, oh I don't know, gone off and become a circus clown.  Now that would have been something to write about.  Most of my dealings have been rather dull.

Oh sure, there was that marathon PR in June that was only 2:08 off of a Boston Qualification.  Too bad I had to make several port-o-can stops.  And of course there has been life with Frankie.  If you follow me on FB, you have gotten to see more pictures of him than Prince Harry at the Las Vegas blow out.  And who can forget about the start of high school for The Banana?  There have been lots of exciting things happening in this neck of the woods.

There has also been a whole lot of pain, set backs, and discouragement.  I really did not want to write about that.  I did not want to write about going an entire year with out racing in a triathlon.  I did not want to write about injuries that kept me from training, water pouring out of my ceiling, or getting fat and slow.

No one wants to read about that stuff.  The reader delights in tales of adventure, love, and a fair bit of comedy.  All of those have been lacking, with some severity, over the past four months and even for the last year.

But now I am writing.  I ran 10 miles this morning.  It wasn't spectacular, but the pace was under 9:00 per mile and it is a starting point back to peak fitness in 16 weeks.  My shoulder is healing and I was able to do a strength training session on Friday without much soreness.  And, there is still someone out there who thinks I am amazing.  Even if I don't feel amazing, I'm going to take the advice of Billy Crystal's Fernando Lamas character: "It is better to look good than feel good."  So it is time for me to put my best face on, use a little smoke and mirrors, and possibly even wear some pink.

It is time to crawl out of the shadows.  Fake it until you make it.  "You look marvelous!"

Thank you, Fernando.

Friday, May 25, 2012

And Then There Were Three...

Hi, my name is Frankie.  I'm the newest athlete to take up residence at La Casa de Coach Liz.  We met back in March or April and I was still pretty sick back then, but I knew that I would be one lucky dog if I got to go home with Coach Liz.  See, Coach Liz is an athlete and her boy, Buddy, he's an athlete, too.  So Coach Liz and Buddy know what athletes need.  We need exercise, a good support system, quality food, and plenty of recovery time.  But there was something special about Coach Liz and Buddy that made me want them to be part of my Forever Home.

I guess that I should tell you a little about my life before coming to live at La Casa.  I was born in January, 2007 and I come from a long line of successful racers.  I was one of six Greys in my litter and my Brood Mom had a total of 35 offspring.  All of my brother's and sister's names begin with Backwood + their name.  My registered name is Brownlee.  I don't know why I did not get the Backwood part added to my name.  I really cannot remember what happened when I was at the farm or at the track, but I did not get to race.  All I do know is that my owner let me go and live with some humans.

I am not sure what happened to the humans, but one day last September, they let me out in the back yard and they never let me back in.  It was so hot outside.  I am sure that I scratched at the door to get the human's attention, but they did not let me in.  It was hot at night too.  We Greyhounds don't normally bark, but I had to find my voice to tell the humans that I needed to come in from the heat.  But the back door never opened.  After many days without food, and just a little water, another human heard me barking and looked over the fence.  They must have seen how hot and hungry I was.  I heard the new human knocking on the door of the house.

Soon, the human found a way into the back yard and put me in their car.  I was scared.  I did not know where this human was taking me, but they had water and the car was cool inside.  The human took me to a place where there were other dogs and some cats and more nice humans that gave me food to eat and some blankets to lay down on.  I think I was told that this place was called the Bay City Animal Shelter.

The humans gave me shots and took some of my blood, which really hurt, and then let me rest for a few days.  On Friday, October 7th, 2011, I had an evaluation done by a doctor who works with dogs.  October 7th is kind of a special day for me.  It was the day that I got a new name, the one I have now.  The new humans named me Frankie because I was rescued from the backyard of my old house on October 4th.  That is the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals.  October 7th is a special day for Coach Liz as well, because I found out that it is her birthday.  I guess we had a special connection.

Well, I was pretty sick.  Being stuck out in the backyard for many days, I had received many mosquito bites and as a result, I developed heart worms.  Greyhound Pets of America picked me up from the Bay City Animal Shelter and took me to their kennels where I got to meet lots of other Greyhounds!  It was like being back at the track.  But I too tired to play and have fun.  I had to start treatment for the heart worms.  They gave me arsenic which is poison that kills the heart worms, but I had to be careful and rest so that the arsenic would not kill me as well.  Then I had to take Prednisone.  That made me so sick.  I lost over 20 pounds.  My first round of arsenic was in February and the second one was in March.

When Coach Liz first saw me, I probably wasn't much to look at, but I put my best paw forward and offered her and Buddy a kiss and then I had to lay down.  I heard Coach Liz comment on how thin I was and that when I was standing in the sunny doorway, she could see the sunlight shining through my skin around my tummy and my legs.  I hope that I had made a good impression.  I still had to get well and that was going to take some time.

Well, it seems that time was on my side.  My Foster Mom, Aunt Sandy, had been taking care of me and helping me get my weight back up.  She had been to Coach Liz's house with her Greyhound, Roo and she said it was a real nice place.   Mrs. Pat from GPA made sure to bring me back to the kennel because she said Coach Liz was coming to see all the dogs and to see who wanted to go home with her.  Oh, I hoped it would be me.

I got to go in first and I made sure to offer up some kisses to Coach Liz, Buddy, and this big guy who looks like Buddy and has the same name.  I remember that he was nice and gave me cookies and I heard him say that he could not believe that the other humans left me the way they did.  Some of my kennel mates got a chance to go in and see the family, but they are all kind of young and goofy.  I heard that Hummer tried to increase his chances by offering up his belly for a good rub.  I was secretly concerned that Coach Liz might ask to see Starsky again, but I got called back instead!  Oh, I was so happy!  We got to go for a walk and I made sure to use my best leash manners.

Soon, I had a new collar and I was on my way to La Casa.  It was kind of scary at first not knowing where I was and seeing all the new things, but I tried to be very respectful of Coach Liz's stuff because I did not want to be sent back like Paulie who only got to stay his new home for a month before he ate a squirrel and freaked out his new owner with some crazy behavior.  Coach Liz, Buddy, and El Esposo had all sorts of things ready for me and even let me come up and sleep upstairs so I can be close to them and not feel lonely and afraid.  It has been hard when Coach Liz has to go to work but she said that she is going to be able to spend more time with me after this week.   Coach Liz has been taking real good care of me and I am doing my best to be a Greyt dog for her.

I think that I must be the luckiest dog of all!


Monday, May 14, 2012

A Peek Into the Lab...

Just to allow a quick peek into Muppet Labs, we will update you with the experiments and procedures that are taking place on the Coach Liz Project.

1.  It was determined that Coach Liz was experiencing crappy workouts due to a hiatal hernia.

2.  It was determined that Coach Liz has a casein intolerance and dairy products do not function in the system.

3.  It was determined that Coach Liz still has a gluten intolerance.  Though not as serious as the casein intolerance, it can still cause irritation.

4.  It was determined that Coach Liz was dealing with a large amount of stress.

Action Taken

1.  Coach Liz was told to take advantage of "Me Time" in St. Croix.  "Me Time" was spent in the ocean swimming over a coral reef on three different occasions.

2.  Coach Liz was told to avoid dairy products.  This has been mostly successful.  One brush with blue cheese and another with ice cream were good reminders on why avoiding dairy is going to be necessary.  A substitute for dairy is being investigated.

3.  Coach Liz had the neck of the stomach moved out of the diaphragm to allow for optimal diaphragmatic  breathing.  This was a painful procedure, but so far the two run workouts have taken place have been successful.

4.  Coach Liz has determined that the last day of employment at Big Box Gym/Gym X will be May 25th.  Change will be taking place.

More updates to come.  We here at Honeydew Labs are always stretching the boundaries of science.

Later Gators,


Thursday, May 10, 2012

This is why I Coach...

I am sure that other triathlon coaches would shake their heads at me.  I know El Esposo thinks that I should blow this "job" off for one that pays better.  But I don't do this for the money.  I do this because I can empower people.  I can give them something that they thought was out of their reach.  Call it self respect, pride, courage, bliss....whatever the hell you want to call it...they find in in the last mile to half mile of their "A" Race.

I may be a bit of a drill Sergent throughout the training season and my charges may think that I sit and try to come up with the craziest workouts that I can to give them.  They may think that I am a kill-joy when I give the raised left eyebrow at them when they tell me that they are going to go off and do something way outside of the training plan or they start playing Mr. Potato Head with the workouts.  I know some of them dread those Thursday emails from me.

When they are scared the night before the race, I give the pep talk and the reassuring hug.  When they are about ready to jump out of their skin on race morning, I help them focus and fix any problems that might arise.  When they are crawling out of the swim or running into T2, I am there with my cowbells pissing off the old ladies running the aid station with all of my extra energy to get a smile out of some tired athletes.  When they want to call it quits on the run, I am there to assess their status, give them information that they can use, and even to get them to focus on something else to take their mind off of the discomfort.  Sometimes, I even get to run with them.

And that last mile to half mile is where the magic takes place.

Those are tears of relief, tears of determination, and tears of joy.  As the race announcer said on Sunday, "What does it take to finish a Half Ironman? It takes two friends to make sure you get there."  We look out for each other.  The first finisher of our little TEAM made sure to go back out and stay with our last finisher.  I made sure that I kept someone's focus sharp on the goal and that nothing (pouring rain) or no one (the gentleman she had to pass in the last 250 meters to not be last) got in the way.

It is more than just crossing the Finish Line.  It is about the journey that took place to get there.  With those last few strides, they truly believe that "Anything Is Possible".

I am very proud of my 13 who finished Ironman Galveston 70.3 and my 9 who finished Ironman St. Croix 70.3.  It took guts to ask people for money for blood cancer research and to fit in training between job travel, family commitments, illness, relocation to another city, new relationships, and moving into new homes that needed renovations.

In the end, this is why they did it....
They did it so that Molly and Kaden could have a better quality of life.

You can assist the 16 doctors in the Texas Medical Center that we directly fund to help them continue their research by following this link:

Later Gators,


Sunday, April 29, 2012

When You Hug Sharks, You Might Get Bit

I have been hugging sharks of late.  Some might call it playing with fire, or pushing the envelope.  Whatever you call it, there comes a time when you get bit...or burnt....or a painful paper cut.  There is always going to be someone standing nearby who is more than happy to crow, "I told you so." Look, I knew I was skating on thin ice.  I was just trying to keep it together before the wheels fell off.  I'm sure I can still pull it together and it will all work out, but for now, just keep your comments to yourself and stand back and give me some room to work.

It is not easy trying to be the super hero for everyone especially when you come in contact with your kryptonite.  But my problem is that I don't know what my kryptonite is.  I have been trying to figure that out since last August when I was not involved in a strange genetic mutation, but rather a car accident.  That accident altered my human existence in such a way that has left doctors stumped, friends rolling their eyes at me, and me totally frustrated.  I'm going to keep from burdening the reader with all my whinny complaints and just say that I am sick and tired of it and I'm not going to take it anymore!

So, if in the next weeks and months you think that I might have fallen off the face of the earth, I haven't.  I'm still here, but the research lab is not open for tours.  If you feel like I have snubbed you in some way by not getting back to you, don't take it personally.  I probably need to focus more on getting healthy, or whatever.  If you feel like I am one crazy b--ch, I probably am.  Right now I do kind of feel like I am a few fries short of a Happy Meal.

They best way to help me out is to periodically remind me that you believe in me or some stupid positive mind babble like that.  I know I do decent job but sometimes I forget that and I feel like I can't do much right other than getting the trash out to the curb on time.  I even struggle with that some weeks.  There is that saying on the side of a bag I have that tells me to do one thing a day that scares me.  Trust me, I have been doing that everyday.  I hate living scared when I am doing it on my own.  Just tell me that you've got my back.

More to come as soon as I figure it out...

Later Gators,


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Yep, it's time...

Life is all about change.  We would like to think that we have a set routine and can be certain that we know what to expect on a day to day basis.  We make decisions based on what we know to be certain in our day or week of events.  And then, when we least suspect it, the tornado/hurricane/tidal wave hits, the pieces have to be picked up and a new way of doing things has to begin.  Now not all change is like a hurricane.  Sometimes it is like winning the lottery or digging a hole to plant a tree and striking oil.  No matter what it is like, it is still change.  A few of the changes that a person may face in life is the loss of a job, a new residence, or a new situation or new opportunity.  Change can be stressful.  In the past three weeks I have had a lot of change in my life that has been both stressful and exciting at the same time.  All I know is that I have been really good at rolling with the punches.

Change #1:  The kid has been diagnosed with Juvenile Myolonic Epilepsy.  What I had seen as common clumsy teenager moves and not getting enough sleep over the past few months were actually petite mal seizure.  The big grand mal seizure was with the grandparents and my nephew and his friend while they were driving to go fishing.  After the Emergency Room, many doctor and neurologist visits, and tests, medication is in place and life is starting to get back to a new normal.  I have to enforce bedtime a bit more and drive him to school so he can sleep in rather than get up 30 minutes earlier to get the bus.  I have someone who can cover for me at work for my early 5:30 am classes when El Esposo is out of town and I have to be home in the morning.  Yes, it was scary. Yes, we had to make some changes. Yes, we are treating it as a speed bump and we are still moving forward. Now we just have elbow pads and knee pads on along with the helmet and gloves.  Extra protection, but we are still moving on.

Change #2:  The company (Big Box Gym) that I have been employed with for the past 15 years has been in a bit of a death spiral since 2008.  Last Thanksgiving it sold 171 locations to a major competitor in the fitness industry and last week it sold off 39 more locations, including all of the Texas locations, to an unknown fitness start-up.  The new management is in our gym this week to start making changes and after many years of putting up with crap pay, having all of my previous job opportunities to travel and train other trainers wiped out due to budget cuts, and no room for advancement, I am leaving.  I had been mulling over this decision for a long time, but I had always felt a sense of responsibility to the gym members who came to my classes and paid for personal training sessions.  I am in the process now of letting them know what has taken place in the last week and they all agree that I have to do what is best.   I had lots of great opportunities handed to me with Big Box Gym but all the people who gave me those opportunities had their positions eliminated for budget cuts.  It is time to cut the cord.

Change #3:  I am going from being employed to being self employed!  Today I have a meeting with a trainer that I used to work with at Big Box Gym who struck out on his own several years back and opened up a private training facility.  Joe is a great guy and I have a lot of respect for him as a trainer.  He was excited to see me walk through his door last Friday and said that he had heard that I was coming to see him.  I know a few of the other trainers who work with their clients at Joe's facility and they had encouraged me to make the switch and go talk to Joe.  The best part is that I get to work around people that I like, set my own hours, and it is not very far from where Big Box Gym is located so that many of my clients will be able to follow me.

Change #4:  I was approached last night about coaching another Team in Training Tri TEAM for the Oceanside 70.3 Ironman and the Galveston Memorial Hermann 70.3 Ironman next year as well as a TEAM for Ironman Texas in 2014.  Um.....YEAH!!!!  San Juan 70.3 Ironman was thrown around in there as well.  I am stoked about it!

Change #5:  Adopted Daughter #1 will graduate from  Texas A& M on May 11th.  Paying for her schooling has been an eye opening experience.  The dorm rooms still look the same as when I was a student there, but they cost three times as much per semester.  The last payment for the cap and gown, diploma fee, and living money to get her through the next few weeks has been made.  Adopted Daughter #2 has one more year at The University of Houston.  This means we have a little extra money that is going to be available to provide for.....

Change #6: A new dog!!!  Not just any dog, but for those of you who still don't know what kind of dog yet, I will leave that as a surprise for you.  I got the call yesterday that the reports from the home visit and the phone calls to references and vets were finished and would be submitted to the adoption committee and that we would soon be approved to start meeting the dogs to have one pick us as their perfect "Forever Home".  I am in the process of getting the house ready for a pup crate, food bowls, and squeaky toys.  Just letting you know, it still may be several weeks or even another month due to the fact that EVERYONE in the family has to be present for adoption day and El Esposo is heading out of town again for work and I have a few things going on as well such as volunteering at Ironman Texas and a marathon in San Diego.  I am being patient.  :)

Yeah, so lots of change going on here in NW Houston, TX.  Some of it daunting (ok, most of it), and most of it is stuff that I know I am going to be able to handle.  There may be some kinks to work out, but as a former colleague said, I will land on my feet and come out smelling like a rose.   There were days that I was run down, mad as hell, or even sad but I had to put that aside and walk out my back door to my car and just be awesome.  The workouts might have been rough, but I was being awesome. The job situation was a bum deal and I felt like checking out, but I had to be awesome.  The hospital was giving me the run around, I stopped them in their tracks with my awesomeness and they bowed to my command.

Incredible things on the horizon.  Stay tuned!

Later Gators,


Sunday, March 25, 2012

One Step Closer

I bet each and every one of you have had a wish list.  Possibly it was one you made after fingering through the pages of the Sears or JC Penny's Christmas catalog when you were a kid.  Maybe it was one you made in high school about what you wanted to do after graduation.  Did you get your wish?  Did you give up on your wish because something else or something better came along?  Are you still waiting for your wish to be fulfilled?

I have had a wish that I have been holding onto for the past twenty-five years.  I was told to wait on my wish because I would be leaving for school in a few years.  Then I had to wait because I was in school and had no way to enjoy what I was wishing for.  After school was no better because I had no money or because there were other, more serious matters at hand.  Then there was a few years where I kind of got my wish but it was a little different than what I really had my heart set on.  For the past five years I have kept that wish alive, but I have been too scared to follow through with obtaining it.  Was I too busy?  Was I able to afford it?  Was I ready for that kind of commitment?  Was I worthy of my wish?

Two weeks ago, I took the first step to realizing my wish.  I had to do the thing that scared me.  I had to ask the owners of this thing that I wanted if I could have it.  I talked at length to the person who could help me obtain my wish to show them that I was committed and that I had done my homework and I knew what I was getting myself into.  I visited the place where I would go to get the thing that I wanted and I got to spend some time looking at it, holding it, and admiring it.

Now I have to have someone come to my house and see if I am ready to own the thing that I want and that I have space for it in my life.  The process is daunting, but I am still on track to get my wish granted to me.

Keep wishing, hoping, and dreaming.  Don't give up.

Later Gators!


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

I'm Signed Up!

I will be at the Start Line of Ironman Texas this year!  

Yes, I will be there.  I will get to high-five all of my triathlon friends as I direct you over the timing mat and into the water as a Swim Start Volunteer.  And remember, if you don't move fast enough, I get to start yelling at you to get your @$$ in the water as fast as you can because you have hundreds of people behind you waiting to get in as well.

Look for me at the practice swim on Friday and on Race Day!

Later Gators!


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Lost and Possibly Found

It has been over three months of silence from me and I am sure that I have lost all of my creepy Internet friends because they thought I had written this blog off.  I have had exciting things take place in the last three months such as a marathon PR, a cool coaching certification, and a realization that I need to move forward with my training and coaching.  I have also had some rough patches to work through as well such as a return of the hives, a W-2 form that indicated that a janitor or bus driver has a better income, and a need to move forward with my training and coaching.

Did you catch that?  The need to move forward with my training and my coaching are both exciting and daunting.  I have let myself stay in a job where I get paid less per day than a substitute school teacher because I was dedicated to the clients that I have been working with for the past 12 years.  I had to realize that if I went someplace else, they would probably follow me.  But where was I to go?  If I moved to another gym, I would be in the same crummy pay position that I was already in.  I might get a few dollars more, but there would also be high expectations set on me to work hours that I currently do not work and reach revenue goals that I was not motivated to reach.  I had a lead on a private facility that was going to open where I could pay rent, move my clients to and end up collecting 100% rather than 40% of what my clients had been paying to work with me.  Sadly, that lead has yet to materialize.  So for now, I am going to take it to the great outdoors.  I will have zero overhead and I will just tote around my equipment in the back of my car.  I will be working out of client's homes as well.  As I start to make the transition, I will be finishing off client's sessions and quietly advising them not to renew sessions because I will be taking a "summer vacation" for several weeks.  I have had plenty of people that I have worked with that have not renewed sessions due to travel, why the hell can't I do the same?

I will be giving myself until June to get out of the situation that I am in.  I would do it sooner, but I have other poles in the fishing hole that I need to attend to.  My 13 awesome athletes that are racing the Memorial Hermann 70.3 triathlon in Galveston have their race in two weeks.  My amazing 8 athletes who will be going to St.Croix for their 70.3 race have seven weeks left in their training.  My kid has a bit more school left this year.  And, I am still trying to get ready for the San Diego Rock n' Roll Marathon.

I have ideas of what I want to do once I have moved past June, but I also know that I need to get some things in order to tackle that project.  All of this is kind of scary but I have to do it.  If I don't, I will continue to be unhappy with where I am at in my job and feel unchallenged.  I may not be the most successful coach or trainer that is out there, but there are not too many trainers and coaches that have the knowledge that I have and can do as good or a better job than I can.  I have had to work hard to convince myself of that, and a job that does not reward success other than hitting a revenue goal can grind you down.  I am not into making tons of money, I am into changing people's lives.  Ok, yeah, money is a good thing.  I am just looking to be paid what I am worth, and right now my W-2 form says that I am a Dollar Store bargain with a 50% off coupon.

Promise to keep you updated...

Later Gators,