Monday, September 27, 2010

Hot 100

I have decided to join the Hot 100 Challenge. Find more info here:

Tuesday will be my update days :) And now onto my goals!

1. I want to be able to do 40 sit ups in a minute.

2. I would like to be comfortably in a size 14 pants.

3. I'm going to New Orleans! Well, in spirit and eventually in person. By the end of this challenge I want to have covered 349 miles (the distance between Houston, Texas and New Orleans, Louisiana) by walking, running, and biking. That means I have to cover an average of 3.5 miles per day.

So I wrote the top portion of that post yesterday. Probably a good thing, since it seems today will not be as good of a day as yesterday. Last night I started getting really grumpy, I couldn't get comfortable in bed, then I woke up this morning at 3:30 a.m.! WIDE AWAKE. So I got some stuff done I needed to around the house and watched some random sitcom on Hulu called New Amsterdam. I actually really liked it, lol. Then around 5:30 I starting missing Aaron, so I went back to bed. BAD IDEA! He got irritated because I woke him up with my hugs, and I couldn't really sleep. Then my boxer decided that there was definitely room on our bed for him...and if there wasn't he would make room. So I tossed and turned until 6:45. Then I went to the cafeteria when I got to work. I was already having a bad morning so you know I was craving some Hot Chocolate, or a Dr. Pepper, or something bad. But I made the decision to get something healthy. So I got some kind of muffin and some fruit and some water. Ah, temptation avoided. And I was even thinking of only eating the fruit when...disaster struck and I dropped my fruit! It went all over the floor in the entrance of my building. So I'm trying to pick it up as fast as I can, because I don't want anyone to see me...and of course I'm almost done when this overly concerned woman walks in and is like, "Oh you poooooor thing, you poooor pooor thing." Seriously? By this time I'm almost to tears. I just wanted some fruit!! Is that such a bad thing? I was TRYING to make good choices and the world is just against me today. I have a feeling today will not be the best of days...but I'm trying to remain optimistic. Really I am...I can make this a good day if I just keep my chin up. Sigh.

My Competition; Myself

I am competitive.
I want to win.
No question.
I want to be the best
..and I want recognition of the fact that I am the best.

But here is a shocker.

I'm not the best.

Don't laugh, but this has been a huge and difficult lesson for me. I think a lot of people in my generation grew up with parents trying to give them constant positive re-enforcement. This is great in many ways. I certainly think it is better than degrading your child. However, it has given me a bit of a complex. I constantly desire other people's praise, I want to hear how good I'm doing, and too often that dictates the things I do and the way I act. Too often that is my only motivation.

It is difficult for me to admit, but for the longest time the only reason I sang is to get other people's praise. It made me hate singing. It made me quit singing. I couldn't tell if I actually liked singing, the only thing I KNEW that I liked was the praise I received from my family/friends. And when I got to college that praise was extremely rare, and was more often criticism. I wasn't prepared for it. I wanted to be better than everyone, but everyone was better than me. So you know what I did?

I quit.

I dropped out of college and for about 5 years my mind drifted. I had no direction. The only direction I had ever understood was the quest for praise and affirmation. I thought I was a failure, because no one was patting me on my back. But I got tired of crying about how my life didn't mean anything, and my mind started to change...

When I did the MS150 (bike ride from Houston to Austin) earlier this year it was one of the first times I ever did anything that I loved, that I enjoyed, and that I wasn't good at. I'm not saying I'm an awful cyclist. I can push myself up a hill like no ones business, and that makes me feel great. But I am slow, really slow. And that is okay.

You know what I would have done if I would have compared myself to more than 90% of the other cyclists on the road during the MS150? I would have quit. They were better than me. They were faster, they were better equipped; some had trained harder, some had teams supporting them.

I did it alone, I went slow, I came in near the end....and I loved it, and I didn't quit...and I finished.

I was inspired to write this by a friend of mine who is doing a 5K with her brother this weekend. My friend is, in my opinion, athletic and amazing. I aspire to what she can do and the speed she can run. But she is worried, because her brother is faster than her. He started running just a month or so ago and can already easily beat her times. Basically, he is better than her (for now).

She is competitive too. I know it is frustrating to her, because she has been training, she has been pushing. But I know she will never stop.

"Just do your best," is what I tell her as encouragement.

And for the first time I'm saying that, not because it is the 'nice' thing to say, but because I mean it. I'm not perfect. I still want to quit, I'm sure I will still quit sometimes because I'm so crushed by the fact that I am not the best. But, I'm learning. The best experiences are when I aspire to be as fast as my brother-in-law who averages 25mph on his bike, when I aspire to run as fast as my friend Helen, when I aspire to be as dedicated and inspiring as my friend Candice...but I compete and aim to beat myself. When I am on that hill and my body is crying out to stop, when my mind keeps saying I could just get off and walk that hill, when my stomach says 'eat that ice cream, exercise tomorrow'. When I say no, when I keep going, when I push...I win every time. I am the best of me, every time.

I aspire to be like the best and I do my best.
And when I do that I don't need praise or anyone's affirmation.
Because when that happens I am proud of myself, I am happy, I am alive.

And that is victory.