Product Review and Giveaway: Words to Sweat By

You have to love the power of social media to make a big world, not so big. It was a great day when I “bumped” into Words to Sweat By on Twitter, please, give them a follow: @wordstosweatby

I have never been so instantly attracted and interested in a product before. Words to Sweat By has unique, one of a kind fitness accessories. There are a lot of options out there with fitness and endurance accessories but what set them apart is they are truly unique, hand crafted designs that don’t look like all the others out there.

Seriously, how cool is this scarf?

1379967715_infinity_scarf_running_close_store_300_2They were very generous and sent me one of their necklaces.

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First and foremost it arrived so quickly my head spun. As an athlete we love our “stuff”. Gear, supplies, all our “stuff”. When we order things we want it, well, yesterday. This came so fast! It was well packaged with a professional presentation and a lovely personal note from Dana Lardner the CEO/Designer of Words to Sweat By.

I have worn the necklace 3 ways, as shown in the photo above, with just the dumbbell, and with just the square:

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When I first put the necklace on with just the square, I forgot I was wearing it. I went to the gym, went swimming with my son, ran errands, took a shower, and oops went to bed wearing it.   It is so light it was very comfortable. Keep in mind I live in Vegas, it is HOT. I cannot stand anything heavy or cumbersome. Also, I had spine surgery recently and my neck is VERY sensitive because of that. The necklace did not bother me at all.   I couldn’t tell I was wearing it.

Plain and simple. I love it. I have already ordered a few other pieces.

Now. Here is the fun part. I have a necklace TO GIVE AWAY!!!

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Here’s what you do to win, and I will keep it simple:

  1. Go to my Coach Kristie PRS FIT Facebook page where the link to this review is posted.
  2. In the comment section below tell me why you want to win
  3. Tag Words To Sweat By in your comment.
  4. The comment with the most “likes” by Friday, August 1st 12:30pm Pacific Time will win this necklace

So tell me?  Why do YOU want to win this necklace?

 

The Comeback Coach

I have had a lot of sincere inquiries as to my progress on rebuilding myself. So here you go.

For those who know, and who don’t, 2013 was quite possibly one of the most challenging years I have ever had. I lost my Mom and best friend to Lung Cancer, I had a mass removed from my sinus cavity and unexpected emergency spine surgery. The whole year tried me emotionally and physically well beyond my limits. Physically my sacrifice was my most cherished gift, my gift of the run.

Let me translate. I can run again, finally. But it used to be easy, really easy. Now, most days it is a fight. It is hard.   Some days, my legs just don’t work and I just, well, can’t. I have had to start over as if I just started running.

At first it hurt. I cried. A lot. I threw things. I used to look at a 1 hour run and in my head and I would say “easy peasy 6 mile or more run in zone 2”. Now, I am thrilled for close to 4-5, or even being able to run the full hour without walking.

My favorite race is the Philadelphia Blue Cross Broad Street 10 Mile Run. I have a lot of family there, the Rocky soundtrack blares and the spectators are just second to none, and hello there is a soft, huge, ballpark Phillies special pretzel at the finish. I have run it twice. My best time was 1:24:00. I will be toeing the start line for the third time in a couple weeks. My run is not what it once was. It will get there again, but the healing process is slow.   I hope to finish before the cutoff of 2:30:00.   That is a far cry from 1:24:00. Shoot, my ½ Marathon PR is 2:03.

I am 10lbs from my “normal” weight, thank you surgery, 15lbs from “game face” weight. I keep getting snide remarks and have had a few people ask me “when are you due?”. The best one “You’re a Coach? Shouldn’t you be thinner?” People are mean. Some thrive on other’s setbacks. If I have been that for someone to keep them from bullying someone else, I am happy. But you know where I am right now? To be bluntly honest, I am happier than I have been in years. YEARS.

I am healthy. Pain free. I am in remission from cancer since Aug of 2009. My son is growing like a weed and thriving in school. He is my mini me and I love him more than is humanly possible. My husband is handsome, brave, and (TMI) flat sexy. I am a LUCKY woman.   I am a Coach of and a member of a badass team of coaches and athletes at Team PRS FIT.   How many people can incorporate their passion into their career? Only the lucky ones for sure, and I am one of them.

As a Coach, I trust the process. So as an athlete, I trust the process. Coach Rebecca is rebuilding me slowly and carefully. I have to listen to my body very carefully. Some times it whispers, some times it screams, but I listen.

People ask me when I am planning my “comeback”.   I don’t know, my body will tell me. But I will tell you this. There is one thing that has made a comeback, my love of running.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Explanation of Training

runpicI finally had an “ah ha” moment recently and was able to into words something that I have been trying to explain for years.

Why, do I train? Why do people like me, train? Why do athletes train?

Simple.

The “A” race to an athlete is like the final exam to a student. Training is the classroom. Workouts are homework. Pulse check races are quizzes. Athletes eat right, and get as much sleep as possible. All of this preparation is so they can show up for the final exam (A race) alert, healthy, ready and prepared.

When in school, students get up early, stay up late to study and do homework. They talk to other students who may have taken the same exam before. They ask for tips, pointers.

When training, athletes get up early, stay up late to get workouts in. They talk to others who have raced the same race, or distance for advice and tips. Sometimes they train with a group (like a study group). Others may be more focused training alone.

A student may prepare just to pass easily. An athlete may just want to finish happy and healthy. The student may have aspirations on getting into a program or school that a certain passing grade is required. The athlete may want to qualify for Boston or Kona. The student may want one of the top grades in the class, just like the athlete may want an Age Group award.

Some students prefer to be self taught. Some students seek a tutor to gain more of an edge and give them personal help, just as the athlete seeks a Coach.

As a Coach, like a tutor, I want my athletes/students to pass their exam. I assign their homework/workouts in order to best prepare them for their test/race.

So the next time someone asks you why you training I hope this will give you the words to help you explain, you just want to do well on your test.

Coach Kristie

I am Me

I am not selfish. I live my life around others. I find out their schedule and work mine around theirs. I get up early, stay up late, work through or run errands on breaks, I multi task like no other. I work, pack lunches, make sure laundry is done, homework is done, clean the house, coordinate play dates, cook dinners, carpool, shuttle to soccer games, and work hard. My wants and needs come last. In the wee hours of the morning when no one needs me, when others are sleeping…I am…me.

The runner, the triathlete, the athlete. I swim, I bike, I run, I lift weights….I do this because it is my passion. Not because I am a freak. Because outside of everything I am, a wife, a mother, and a friend, I am…a woman, a woman who is an athlete. Would I rather sleep in? Yes! But if I did, I would be sacrificing myself. I live myself around others, so in order to be myself I have to do what I have to do, even if that means getting up at 3am, or going to bed and waking up and running 20 miles in the middle of the night while my family sleeps (and yes, I have done this, more than once).

I am not a martyr, nor am I trying to be, I am just stating the facts. I am a wife, coach, friend, Aunt, Sister, Mom, etc. Myself as a woman comes last. But I’ll be damned if I will let that part of me go. That is why I train, and race with all I have. Because, that is, all I have. Me. Without me, there is….no me.

Identifying Energy Expenditures and finding Balance in Your Life

vaseHow many Vases do you have?

Vases can add beauty to your life. A vase with fresh flowers can brighten a room, lift a spirit. Some vases come to us bearing special meaning or sentimental value.

Then there are vases that have a tiny hole in the bottom, so no matter how much water you put in them, it is never enough.
You can venture to guess where I am headed with this. How many vases with holes in the bottom do you have in your life, and do you know when to stop trying to fill them up before you get dried out? How do you find balance on just how much of your water to give to each vase?

Water is your energy. Vases symbolize work, tasks, training, races, friends, family, and school, among many other things. Basically, anything that takes your energy is a vase.

Look at your life. What vases brighten your day, lift your spirit, support and enhance your life? What vases require energy, that you give and then more is demanded each time, or worse yet, it is never enough? These vases drain you. They do not enhance your life. Identifying these differences can help you to find and realign balance in your life.

Some examples below to just get you thinking, but not all inclusive:

Work. Big deadlines, short staffed. You work through lunch, and extra hours. Are you appreciated and rewarded or is this now expected and/or more extra time demanded?

Races/Training. Do you enjoy training, find yourself happy, energized relishing race day? Are you over training, racing too much, or training for something that is just too big to fit in your life (this is a hard one to realize, you may have the physical ability, but not the time required to train/race)?

Friends. Do they bring joy, laughter and support to your life? Do they demand so much attention that they demand more and more attention and enough, is never enough?

Once you identify your vases. You have to make an important decision on the ones with holes. How much water (energy) are you willing to give so you do not dry out (exhaust) yourself? This can be a difficult decision. Sometimes it takes a lot of evaluation on what you need for balance in your life. It can also cause negative reactions as you pull back your energy and things/people around you adjust. Just remember in the end, you are doing this for a happier, more balanced life.
Coach Kristie

 

Perfectionism and the Athlete

perfectionismThe Webster’s Dictionary defines a perfectionist as: someone who will not accept or be content with anything less than perfection.

Perfectionists tend to have unrealistically high expectations about themselves, others and life in general. They also become acutely aware and over concerned with tiny flaws and mistakes in themselves, others, and achievements. Using so much energy to focus on what’s wrong and discounting what is right. Perfectionism leads those to believe nothing is ever good enough.

Perfectionism is a HUGE common denominator in low self-esteem and drives people to the point of chronic stress, exhaustion, and burnout. Imagine a perfectionist who is an athlete.

Perfectionism and racing/training can be a volatile combination. Here are some tips that can help a perfectionist to recognize and shift to a more positive and productive way of thinking:

o The idea that races and accomplishments are a measure of self-worth, has to be let go. Think long and hard about this. People in someone’s life accept and love them not because they have a full medal rack on their wall, raced a certain distance, raced within a certain finish time, but for their love and wisdom. Accomplishments are not “who” you are but rather “what you have done”. Focus on “who” you are, not “what you have done”.

o Don’t blow up negatives and harp on them continuously. Perfectionists tend to selectively ignore the positives and dwell on negatives, no matter how small and insignificant, at the end of the day, think about the positives. Perfectionists tend to even create negative situations out of positive because they dwell in the negative so much they don’t know how to react or behave in a positive environment. Don’t negate a positive. For example “I had a great run, but it wasn’t at the pace I wanted”. Positive leads to positive and positive breeds positive. The same goes for negativity.

o Think about goals. Are they realistic? Are you reaching for the stars in another galaxy? Are you determined to do a race distance that you don’t have the time or ability to train for? Determined to finish in an amount of time that is a huge stretch even given perfect race and training conditions? Is your goal realistic? Set yourself up for success, not failure, by setting goals you can achieve.

o Do something every day you enjoy. Plain and simple. Perfectionists tend to be self-denying. If external goals and everyday life experience expectations are so high that there is no pleasure or enjoyment, allow time for fun. Do not seek out the negative, seek out the positive. HAVE FUN.

o In racing and training is it “win/finish in a time/PR/place high at all costs” or do you allow yourself to have fun? A popular quote comes to mind “The journey is more important than the destination”.

o Focusing on “keeping up with the Joneses” and not focusing on and celebrating your own improvements and successes can cause someone to lose sight of the positive in their training and accomplishments. This leads to unhappiness, and often times in training/racing burnout and injury.

Perfectionism, when identified, can be overcome. It takes a change in how someone views themselves, and others, but it can be overcome. More severe situations may take the assistance of a counselor or therapist.

If you see the perfectionist trait in yourself, take a moment and reflect. See how you can turn it around and find the positives and success in yourself, others, racing, training, and life in general. Don’t set yourself and others up for failure, but instead, focus on the positives. Allow yourself to be happy. That, is success.
Coach Kristie

 

Do you have a backup plan?

Stuff happens. Slipping and falling or unexpected surgery, these are just a couple examples of situations that may make an athlete have to come to an unexpected and sudden stop in training. How, as an athlete, do you adjust mentally and physically to this?

Now is the time to focus on the positive, and refocus your energy. The sudden stop has been described as post-race blues on steroids. You do not want to go down a potential downward spiral that will be very difficult to battle up from.

Here are some ideas of some things you can do to help you refocus (or distract) and remain positive:

• Hone in on proper nutrition

• Sleep

• Read some good books

• Watch a movie

• Get caught up on past seasons of The Walking Dead (or other shows you have always wanted to see)

• Take up a new hobby. Coach Christina swears by knitting

• Get a massage

• If physically capable, embrace, and practice Yoga.

• Meditate

These are just some ideas to get the wheels turning in your head for backup.

Plan for it, have a backup plan in place so you can embrace the sudden stop if the unexpected happens.

What if this happens and you have signed up for a race you can no longer do? Contact the Race Director, ask for deferral. You never know until you ask. Many races are becoming more open to this, but don’t expect it, most do not. Some races now offer “race cancellation insurance” for a small fee $5-$7. You can purchase insurance that will offer you a registration refund and/or guaranteed deferral in the event of the unexpected prevents you from racing.

If the inevitable happens and you can’t defer or get a referral, write it off in your head. It’s a race, a medal, and a t-shirt. There will be others. Easier said than done, but if you accept that, you will make your “time off” easier to bear.

Start looking forward to and get excited for your “come back”.

I say this a lot: If you don’t plan for it, it will happen. If you do plan, it won’t. One can only hope.

One this is for certain, if you take care of yourself, you will come back from your sudden stop stronger than ever before.

So, all this being said…what is your backup plan?

 

Coach Kristie

I wrote this 3 weeks ago, little did I know (as I post this) I would be day 6 into mandatory rest due to unexpected surgery. Now…I practice what I preach.