Friday, July 19, 2013

A Life (Extra)Ordinary

As a young girl, I dreamed of becoming an Olympic gymnast. I wanted to be the next Nadia Comaneci. I wanted to be world famous.

And then came the balance beam. It was my nemesis, the destroyer of my dreams. That and the thousands of dollars my parents would NOT spend to send me to live with Bela Karolyi.

Instead, reality set in. I was not going to be world famous and inspire a nation. I was going to lead an ordinary life: marriage, children, mortgage and all, and most days I am good with that. Day to day I think I lead an average life. I am loved by my husband, kids, sisters, nieces and nephews. That's is all that REALLY matters, right? Everyone wants to lead a fulfilling happy life, don't they?

Five years ago I began training for triathlon. Almost three years ago I became a group fitness instructor. In one month, I will be able to claim the title of Ironman for a year now.

After completing my Ironman last August 26th, I received so many incredible messages from people who tracked my race all day long. People who said "It's not if she can do it, I can do it. It's because you did it I can do it." I took that as a mighty fine compliment. But it's been a year since my Ironman. To me, the glory never wears off. I can look at my Ironman pictures and remember every second, every detail of that day.

Then the monotony of life takes over and again I think I lead an ordinary life....UNTIL....I get those random, out of the blue emails from someone from my past, or someone who has been in my classes, someone who has found themselves eating healthier, moving more and eventually getting more fit.

I woke up this morning with a horrible sinus headache which concerned me since I'm supposed to go to GRIT(r) training this weekend in St. Louis. Ugh, every movement made me hurt. While I made my breakfast, I checked my Facebook news feed and noticed I had a message from a friend from high school. Her message brought tears to my eyes.

Just over a year ago she contacted me regarding her struggles with exercise and emotional eating.  Her loved ones did not support her, but mocked her attempts to get in shape. Today? She's lost 30 pounds since the beginning of this summer. She's eliminated some bad habits and kept the negative people out of her life. She emailed me to thank me for my words of encouragement and for all of my "fit posts" on Facebook. (Yes, I can be a little overbearing with getting my message out there.)

It's days like today where I do not feel like I lead an ordinary life. I lead an (Extra)Ordinary life. I am blessed to do something that I love every day. While I motivate others, they inspire me. I am incredibly blessed.

Monday, July 8, 2013

A Trip to the Windy City

Even under the best of circumstances, it is hard to let go of your baby girl....even when she is no longer a baby. Next fall Samantha will be attending DePaul University in Chicago, IL and I think daddy is struggling with the idea of his first born growing up and moving away. 

While I lived in Chicago 20+ years ago, my dear husband has never quite embraced Chicago and its hustle and bustle. We decided to have a summer hiatus in the Windy City with the entire family. When I asked the girls what they wanted to do, this is what we came up with:  

#1 *** A visit to the art museum ****
Annelise wanted to go to the art museum. Unfortunately, me being me and not being an artsy fartsy mom, I picked the wrong one. We toured the Contemporary Art Museum. Apparently, my family is not a fan of contemporary art. I mean strings of Christmas lights become an art display? A series of beer bottles stuck on the wall? Paper dots tossed into the air?  I found great amusement with the bottom left picture. Old style photo development. With today's digital format, photographs have almost disappeared. Anyway...I digress. Annelise was not happy with my choice of art museums. Maybe next time she will research it herself and make sure we are going to the right one. 

MCA - not the place we thought

Here is our contemplation of contemporary art. Annelise is laughing at my choice of museums. Samantha is wondering what the heck we are looking at...and me? I'm trying to make the best of the situation and pretending like I am getting something out of the experience. Believe me...I got nothing from it except my wallet was made a little bit lighter.

#2 *** Visit Navy Pier ****
Cold & Foggy at Navy Pier
This wasn't really on their wish list, but after our exhilarating experience at the Contemporary Art Museum we were all hungry AND Jimmy Buffet was in town! We tried to get into Margaritaville, but the wait was well over an hour. Instead, we ate at Harry Caray's.
Margaritaville Bus
After lunch, we went over to the Navy Pier lawn where a band was playing Jimmy Buffet and beach tunes. Abby wanted a shark fin hat. Yes, I am proud to say my 11 year old is a Land Shark. (Mom of the Year award for me!) 

A Pitcher of Margaritas
 #3 *** Blue Man Group ****
We've been talking about taking the kids to see Blue Man group for almost a year, but with schedules crazy as usual, it's been tough to find a weekend when we could get to Chicago to see them.

Blue Man Group
This was the only picture I was able to take at the show. As soon as I snapped the picture, I got yelled at because there is no photography inside of the studio. What? Not even of my precious kids before the show? Apparently not! We all agreed the show was fantastic.

#4 *** Cheesecake Factory ****
It was a late night dinner at the Cheesecake Factory which kind of turned out to be a disaster. No one was really hungry. Everyone was just exhausted, but I needed to eat something so I wouldn't be starving half way through the night. The Cheesecake Factory is not my favorite place to eat. There are too many items on the menu which to me says they specialize in NOTHING! Yes, I am a food snob. 

#5 *** Run along Lake Shore Drive ****

OK I was the only person with this on my list. While the kids slept, Jeff & I got up and ran along Lake Shore Drive. On Saturday, the swells were 5-7 feet high. I was so happy I was not swimming in the water. It was slightly calmer for our run Sunday morning. We did come across what I suppose was the Chicago Triathlon Club swimming in Lake Michigan later in our run. My run was fantastic. There were so many people walking, running, and riding their bikes. It made me laugh to think when I lived in Chicago I rode up and down Lake Shore Drive with my then boyfriend and his mom. The ride was probably around 20 miles and it seemed so incredibly long! Now? 20 miles is nothing. 

#6 *** Shop on Michigan Avenue ****
No pictures required. Actually, we don't want any evidence to show how much we spent. Jeff was the designated bag boy. He carried our bags and not once did I hear him complain.

Miraculously, at the end of the trip, Jeff was astounded we didn't visit Chicago more often over the years. I think he feels a little bit better about his baby girl moving to the big terrifying city.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The best dinner conversation

Sometimes the best dinner conversations happen over chips and salsa and a 32 ounce margarita. Jeff's look of shock when I ordered margarita special of the night was calmed when the waiter delivered my margarita....and it wasn't 32 ounces. could have been a loooong morning after.
Maybe not 32 ounces, but it was enough!
Jeff and I went to dinner and, as usual, the conversation turned to work and working out....or as in this case: BOTH! I explained to Jeff that I am interested in going to GRIT(r) training. Recently, we had one instructor go to training and he lost 10 pounds in two weeks. Another husband/wife instructor team went to training and the wife lost 35 pounds! Hmmmm, very intriguing.

Typically, Les Mills instructors have to be sponsored by a licensed club. Now that I work full time as a Les Mills Club Coach, I have the opportunity to attend any training I would like. A few weeks ago my manager asked when I was going to go to GRIT(r) training. GRIT stands for Group Resistance Interval Training. It's a HIIT workout: 30 minutes of high intensity interval training and there a 3 different formats: GRIT Strength, GRIT Cardio and GRIT Plyo.

Here is a sample of the GRIT Plyo class....45 seconds of the full 30 minute class!

I am a little terrified. I mean just because I am an IRONMAN does not mean that I am ready for HIIT training! Yes, I can endure....not sure I am ready to push my body to the point of puking however.

BUT...I'm a sucker. I'm registered for training on July 20th. I'll be heading to St. Louis for the weekend to take my first steps toward becoming a LES MILLS GRIT Coach. In my job working as a club coach, I've had GFM (group fitness managers) tell me they get better results from GRIT than clients do working with a personal trainer on a regular basis. So why not?

The only problem is finding a local gym where I can coach people through GRIT. During our great dinner conversation (and maybe it was the margarita going to his head), he tried to convince me to purchase the GRIT license and offer the group personal training format here in Tremont.

WHOA! Say what? The license for GRIT(r) is not cheap. I would have to have at least 6 paying clients just to break even every single month. Jeff's rational is that there are a large number of people who look to me for health & fitness advice, or attend my classes. As my friend, Jen, says, she's "A Carla Groupie". She follows me from class to class because she likes my teaching style and knows that I am knowledgeable. I walk the walk. I talk the talk.

I still pause. For once, I am being the rational one, throwing up arguments on why this won't work or why I shouldn't do it and Jeff is playing the role of the dreamer, the risk taker. He still firmly believes that I should do it. His belief in me and my abilities are so humbling. How did I become fortunate enough to marry someone who believes in me 110%?

As our conversation evolves, I discover the real root of his reasoning. He wants to become my first client. He wants me to kick his ass and get him back in shape. I have to say the idea is definitely appealing, but I've decide to wait and see how my training goes. My training DVDs should arrive in the mail this week. I will be mixing up my workouts between marathon and HIIT training. I see lots of burpees in my future.