Welcome 2015!

Well, here we are a week into 2015 and what do you have to show for it?

Me? Not much. But I did bake some muffins and pick up a new charger for my phone.

After Ironman Arizona in November, I allowed myself to go into full on recovery mode.  I set training aside, ate anything I wanted and slept more than I thought was humanly possible.  I enjoyed the holidays to the fullest and made it very clear that I wasn’t even going to think about forcing myself to work out until the new year.

Well, the new year showed up, but my motivation didn’t.  Granted the temps have been dropping this week, today as I drove the kids to school the car registered a whopping 8 degrees.  Factor in the wind chill, and you can rest assured I stayed inside today.  I did manage to get over to the gym for a spell, so at least there’s that.

At any rate, I think it’s safe to say that while I am allowing recovery mode to linger, I’m pretty sure I’ve got the physical health aspect of life worked out.  In the past I have always required something to train for in order to give me a “plan” for motivation.  But as I sat back and thought of everything I have put my body through in the past 6 years, it became clear that I am in the midst of a much needed break.  Since Silas was about a year old (He’s 7 now), I have run 9 marathons, a 50k, a 30k, Pere Marquette x2, and countless half marathons, 10 miles, 10ks and 5ks.  Oh, and 20+ miles during 3 different overnight relays longer than 200 miles.  I have also taken up cycling and learned how to swim.  I did my very first Olympic distance triathlon only 2 and a half years ago, followed by a couple half Iron distance and most recently 140.6.

No freaking wonder my body is begging for a break!

So, this year, 2015, I have vowed to settle down and do what I love, because I love it.  Recently when people ask me what’s next, I have enjoyed being able to answer, “Nothing. I have nothing on the agenda.  I just run when I want to.”  I have no plans to sign up for any major races this year.  I’m allowing the bank account to recover along with my body.  I know that when the right opportunity presents itself I will think, “That sounds fun.  I would like to do that with my friends.”  And then I will sign up for it.  Chances are it won’t be long until that happens.  But until the time comes, I’ll be enjoying a Favre style “retirement”.

I’ve never really been one for resolutions.  I’ve always been the type who thinks if you don’t like something about yourself or your life, change it.  Even if it’s just a random Tuesday in August.  Why wait?  We all lose sight sometimes.  We all get off track.  So it’s important to get back on the horse when we can.  But this year is a little different.  This year, I turn 40.  (Gasp!)  This is cause for a little more reflection, or perhaps introspection, than most years.

So, while on my infrequent trips to the gym this week, where I’ve had to share the equipment with not only the regulars, but also the “resolutioners”, I’ve been contemplating how easy it is to fall into the rut of New Year’s goals = fitness goals.  But that doesn’t necessarily have to be the case.  Especially when you’ve completed an Ironman and you’re not really even sure where you want to go from there.

So what do I want to come from my 40th year on this planet?  Well, I want to focus on ALL aspects of my health, not just physical. So, I’ve started things like reading through the Bible in a year and I’m looking up new recipes that I want to try (my hope is one new meal a week, but don’t hold me to that).  Drink more water, eat more greens, blah, blah, blah. And don’t we all have that continually growing list of projects we want to tackle that have no real deadline so we keep pushing them off?  I work much better with deadlines, but I’m hoping to attack one of those projects each month. (I think cleaning out the garage is going to wait until the temperature is above zero)  I also really want to find a charity to volunteer for, or a group traveling to another country to do a mission…something.  But I want to be very thoughtful about this process.

Anyway, what it really all comes back to is that I want to be the best me I can be, so that I am living that example for my kids.

If there is anything that I am sure my kids have learned from me, it’s that they know how to dream big.  Set big goals and go after them.  Hard work and determination will go a long way.  And nothing is impossible.

I also know that they have learned to have big hearts, full of generosity.  They are kind and they help people when they can.  They are very quick with hugs.  I see that reflection of myself in them, and it makes me happy.

Because of me, my children are learning to be good communicators and how to express their emotions in a healthy way.  This hasn’t always been the case, but I have learned and I am teaching them.  They see me cry on a regular basis.  Sometimes out of joy, sometimes pain, but they know this is healthy and acceptable.  They also know I love to laugh!

But there are always things we can improve upon, and I am no exception.  Where there are strengths, there are also weaknesses.  So as we dive into 2015, I plan to exercise the muscles that have fallen somewhat dormant in the monotony of daily routine.

I want to teach my kids to dance upon that fine line between being responsible and being a martyr.

I want to teach them how to balance between doing something well, to the best of one’s ability, without the unrealistic expectation of perfection 100% of the time.

I want to teach them to stretch their brains, as well as their bodies.

I want to teach them to seek the good in each day, especially the tough ones.

Here are a few of the things we are implementing at my house…

Yesterday we started “3 tasks a day”.  Having daily or weekly chores is difficult in a single parent household.  Sometimes they are only with me a couple days during a week, so what if I let the dishes pile up?  That doesn’t work.  And since my kids were young when we split households, I have tended to carry on as the martyr who does everything for everyone.  Let’s face it, sometimes it’s easier to just get it done yourself than to enforce follow through given the attention span of a 7 year old boy.  Oy!  But with “3 tasks a day”, I can come up 3 different chores that need to be done around the house (like gathering up the garbage, vacuuming, wiping down the bathroom or the kitchen, dusting a room, what have you) and delegate those chores.  Each of those things should only take each kid not more than 5 minutes or so.  Those 5-15 minute tasks add up for one person but 5 minutes X 3 kids = less stress for me!  Each day we rotate who picks first to keep it “fair”.  They are so excited about this concept that this morning on the way to school they were asking what the 3 tasks would be today.  Holy smokes!  Who knew this would be such a hit?!

The part that will be hard for me in this is relaxing my standard.  A 7 year old sweeping the floor or a 9 year’s version of ‘’clean” may not be perfect, but at least it’s done.  Sometimes “good enough” is just that.  Especially when that allows us more quality time together in the long run.  There are some things that require a higher standard.  Cleaning is not one of them.

Another thing I am going to be more accountable on is everyone reads for 15 minutes a day.  I love to read, but sometimes this is gets lost in the shuffle.  We watch TV or we rush around to activities.  If I make a point to model this, then I’m not asking my kids to do something I wouldn’t do myself.  And the boys in particular could use the practice.

Finally, thanks to a post by my friend Katrina, we have implemented the “Happiness Jar”.  As I explained to the checkout guy at World Market the other day, my new apothecary jar is going to display strips of colored paper that we write on to commemorate the moments of happiness that occur each day.  He was so excited about this that his enthusiasm spilled over to the customer behind me.  Joy is contagious. 🙂

Ultimately, my resolution for 2015 is the opposite of the person who has taken up occupancy on my favorite treadmill at Gold’s.  I resolve to work out less!  But I also resolve to take that newly found time, and use it very, very well.

So, whether your resolution for 2015 is fitness related or not, here’s to health and happiness in the year ahead!  Cheers!

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