Monday, June 13, 2016

Non-scale victories and self love

First off, thank you everyone for your comments and messages on my post yesterday. It really does mean a lot to hear from people and know that I am not alone out there. And although I did write the post about how I am balancing all parts about training and life, I think what resonated the most and came through a lot was my thoughts about my body and trying to lose weight while training. I wouldn't be telling the truth if I didn't say it was a thing on my mind. And while I am sure it always will be a thing in my mind, I am working to try and change the conversation. Here's how.

Ironman training aside, I have always dreamed going into every summer of my life that THIS SUMMER, this summer, would be THE summer that I finally have that "summer body." And year after year I join the New Years Day bandwagon or maybe I try and get a jump start in December, saying I am going to work towards that summer body. I've said half-laughing, half-not to my friends for years, that I just want one summer of my life that I feel confident in a bikini. That I have a flat stomach that doesn't muffin over the top of my bathing suit bottoms and I don't have to strategically sit and get up from a lounge chair to try and maintain the illusion of a somewhat smooth stomach. Just once. I didn't need to maintain it forever, but it would be cool to have that feeling for just one summer of my entire life.

Well, with this summer being the last summer of my life in my 20s, knowing I would be upping my exercise, and that I was starting the year at a better weight than the year before -- at the beginning of 2016, I finally felt like this was IT. This HAD to be it. I'm going to be training for a Half Ironman that is right at the kickoff to summer. I'm going to be in amazing shape. And besides, after you turn 30, things only get harder so let's enter into a new decade of my life with THIS SUMMER being THE summer.

Well, you guys know the story and how things go. Life happened. And guess what, I still have love handles, and I still have my pooch that I've claimed for forever long that I wanted to get rid of. And here we are, 100 degrees in Atlanta today, summer is here, and it turns out that this is NOT the summer that Katelyn's rock hard abs make an appearance at the pool.

BUT, the other day I made an important realization and decision. I made the decision to change the story and change the vision. So yeah, this summer ISN'T that one summer that I have a flat stomach - but it can still be THE SUMMER I feel confident in a bikini. It can be THE SUMMER that I am kind and loving to myself and feel happy with myself as I am TODAY.

This can be the summer I tell myself that I am beautiful every day and I love myself even if I eat carbs and processed sugar every now and then.

This can be the summer that I change the script and write a new story about who I am and how I see myself. And it doesn't have to involve a flat stomach, but can involve me loving myself and being CONFIDENT at the size that I am. Because you know what? I am turning 30 this summer and that's a better lesson to enter into the next decade of my life with than anything else.

And I seriously am changing the script. When I catch myself thinking negative thoughts, I think, "This is the summer you love yourself." And honestly, this change in mindset is working.

It's not easy. And I have to catch myself over and over throughout the day.  As I am pulling out summer clothes I haven't worn since last year, I cringe sometimes when things don't fit the same. Or when I catch a glimpse of myself in a mirror and don't like what I see. Or if I see a photo of myself where I was tanned and toned and wish I looked like that now. I am forcing myself to pause and change the conversation. To love myself. To tell myself I am beautiful. To remind myself that my body might be the body it was a year ago... but my body a year ago hadn't done a Half Ironman. It hadn't run a sub-4:00 hour marathon. It hadn't been to Thailand or Dubai or Campeche or Miami or New Orleans. I stop. I erase those thoughts. And tell myself something loving. Sometimes I do a dance. And I remind myself to be happy with where I am today.

And today I want to celebrate a few non-scale victories and a few accomplishments I am really proud of. And none of them have to do with that fancy scale I bought.

First, last Thursday night, for the first time in any of the group bike rides that I have joined, I actually was able to keep up and actually ride WITH the group. Generally, I get dropped within the first few miles and then it is a solo ride for the rest of the route. I decided to try and see how long I could stick with the group and the week before I got dropped after 7.5 minutes. This week, I tried to make it even longer than that, and before I knew it, I was with the front pack breakaway and keeping up past the point from the week before, past 20 minutes into the ride, and finally to a point where I thought, "Hell, there's no way I am letting them drop me now!" and some points turned into a fight for my life. Perhaps it was the fact that right before this ride I stopped at Sports Authority and finally bought myself a second pair of bike shorts (last ones I purchased were probably in 2012) and a couple bike tops, but I was feeling it out there. I am now a believer in the power of the fancy bike clothes.

And man, it was so much more fun to ride with the group than to ride by myself. I loved it and the ride went by so quickly. When we finished, one of the older men came up to me an said, "Did anyone come over and give you any kudos? I haven't seen you before, but I saw you out there hanging on - great job!" and it made my day.

The group was mostly men and about 2 females who seemed to be pretty regular. I kind of thought to myself that maybe they just went extra slow that day and that was the reason I was able to hang on. But when I uploaded my data, I was amazed when I saw the pace: 16.17 mph!!

That is really fast for me and by far the fastest I have ever ridden this route. Now, I know that part of that comes from being with a group - which means the ability to draft off them. And that there are other external factors like wind that could have affected it. Or maybe I am just getting to know the route better and able to go faster, but come on. Check out my pace from the week before. The average was 13.9!! Such an improvement (ignore that the distance is a bit different... I kept forgetting to start my watch again a few times.)

I had such a high from this bike ride that lasted throughout the entire evening and into the weekend. I am a little nervous to go back and see if I can maintain this... but at least I'll always have this one week!

The day before, I also was really proud of my interval run that I did. The coach I have been working with gave me an interval workout the week before that consisted of 6 x 5:00 minute tempo runs. I had a really hard time with the workout and felt like crap and wasn't happy with the tempo run paces. I was really nervous that the workout he had given me for this week was to do 4 x 10:00 minute tempo intervals. I wasn't sure how I would feel training to do that and was dreading it. I skipped running in the morning, postponing it (I've never liked doing tempo runs) to the afternoon - which made me even more nervous to run in the heat.

However, I was really proud of how I did. I finished them with average times being 8:34, 8:41, 8:33, and 9:02 for the intervals. I definitely lost steam a bit on that last one, but it was one of the better paced runs I have had in a while and was so happy to see that I ran 30 minutes in the mid-8:00 minute pace!

THEN, this past weekend, I ran a 5K for the first time since last October. And actually really RACED a 5K for the first time since last June. In fact, the same 5K the year before was the last one I had done and actually tried to race it. I wanted to see where my 5K fitness level was and decided to try and push hard. And believe it or not, I was really nervous!

I was feeling a bit jittery and anxious at the start of the race, not sure what it would feel like to run hard for the full 5K. Doing the 10-minute tempo runs, the only thing that got me through was knowing I would have rest after that segment. I felt like there was no way that I could run at the pace I had run the year before... which was when I had broken 25 minutes for the first time and gotten a PR of 24:53.

Well, I ended up finishing in 25:08, only 15 seconds slower than my PR, and at a pace of 8:02 min/mile. I was thrilled with that! And actually, a bit surprised. I am curious now if I would have been able to run any faster if I hadn't had in my head at the beginning that I would be slower than the year before. Sometimes you pysch yourself out before you even started and the mental pep talk I had been giving myself was, "You know it's not going to be what you want it to be - but just push hard and see what's the best you can do."

I was expecting to be about a minute slower so when I looked at my watch after crossing the finish it surprised me and I immediately wondered if I could have kicked it any harder. I may have to find another 5K to run at some point, but I was really proud of myself on Saturday.

And aside from these workouts at the end of the week last week, there are a number of moment and times I have just felt really happy with myself and the decisions I made.  For example, I am getting much better at passing up on sugar, which is usually my downfall. A few weeks ago when it was National Donut Day and Dunkin Donuts tried to give me a free donut, I actually had it in my hand and then gave it back saying, "You know what? I actually don't need this."

I've avoided unexpected office cupcakes, temptations of cobblers, candy, and other junk with relative ease a number of times lately. I'm really trying to focus on cutting excess sugar and eating REAL foods. I have been cooking a lot, baking chicken in the oven, roasting sweet potatoes and brussel sprouts, making fresh salads with avocado, enjoying seasonal items like tomatoes and sweet corn on the cob, and turning my breakfasts away from cereal to eggs and veggies and plain nonfat Greek yogurt with fruit. I'm trying to change my afternoon snack from something processed like a random granola bar or bag of Baked chips to something like a banana and natural almond butter or nuts.

Finally, I'm really trying to take what I said seriously up above and change my dialogue with myself. Making this summer the summer of loving myself unconditionally. The summer of being kind and understanding to myself and unwaveringly confident in my body regardless of if my bathing suit bottles sit flatly on my hips or if I pudge out over the sides.

Oh, and you'd better believe that I also bought myself a whole bunch of new bathing suits this year. Impractical, skimpy bathing suits that you cannot swim laps or jump around in. Bikinis with lots of strings and funny cuts that you see girls wearing and think, "What kind of tan lines are they going to get with that on??" And yeah, I'm going to wear them. And yeah, I am going to feel good in them.

Because reminder, even with extra pudge and love handles and psoriasis - I am badass. And beautiful. And I deserve to tell myself that every day. We all do. Cheers to a summer of bikinis and biking and everything in between. Happy Monday!


  1. This is great, great ride, great pace! You are right...we are bad! I'm going to wear a bikini! And who cares about my kangaroo pouch! Courtney Stoner 👙👙


    I've decided that the NSVs are what make this all worth it. Realizing we can push our bodies to do things we don't even think are possible until we accomplish them...that's why I do all this crazy stuff.

    Hold on to that high from your bike ride, and the high from your 5k, and remember that at the end of the day YOU DID THOSE THINGS and you'll do even crazier things...whether or not you have a 6-pack :)

  3. Your fabulous body carried you through a Half Ironman, not to mention marathons, other triathlons, and various other achievements. You should feel welcome to love it as it is, since it is already pretty amazing. :)