Consistently Inconsistent

8 07 2015

You may have noticed that there has been a severe lack of run, bike, or swim posts lately. Yeah, that’s because there hasn’t been a lot of that going on around here. I’ll be really good, and for a few days in a row I’ll have some semblance of a workout routine. But then, life happens and I push off workouts because triathlon just hasn’t been a priority to me this season. I’ve been consistently inconsistent.

The one thing that really benefited me last year was my consisteny. I made nearly all my workouts despite weather or travel or other obligations. I had a big fat scary goal (which also happened to cost a good chunk of change) and I made training my priority so that I could accomplish that goal. Sure, I did miss out on some time with friends. And I spent a lot of time sore or and sleepy. But, I was in the best shape of my life and I crossed the finish line of my Ironman in less than 12 hours. I’m darn proud of that.

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This year, training has taken a back seat to other things. I’m hanging out with the friends I said “no” to more times than I wish to count last year. I’m wearing a lot more “real” clothing and far less spandex. I’m enjoying sleeping in on the weekend and checking out fun events in town, even if it means I’m staying up until 1am. It’s quite easy to fill the time that was spent on a saddle, in the water, or pounding pavement last season.

PicMonkey Collage

I got out my calendar last night and realized that the one race I had actually signed up for this season, Challenge Florida, is 4 months away. That may seem like a ways off, but for a 70.3, NOW is the time to put in the work, especially when you haven’t been doing much of anything in the past 4 (more like 6) months.

A few weeks ago I was casually talking about the race with my friends and flippantly said, “I could always drop to the Olympic” as though I didn’t need to train seriously for that. (Newsflash Steph- you still need to train for an Olympic. It will HURT if you don’t train and be really ugly. Not the smartest idea.) Well, last night I told myself that no, I was not going to drop down in distance (only for injury!) – that I wanted to do the entire 70.3. I want redemption on this race.

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I did the race back in 2013, and though I was happy with my successful completion of my first half ironman, I now knew what to expect. I liked this distance, and wanted to give it another go. I tried to put together another good race at the Gator Half in 2014, but unfortunately I got a flat and the run was short! I still did well, but I knew that I wasn’t done with this distance.

Beware of Gators

So, it’s time to get back out there and do the work. I know I’m going to need to make some sacrifices, but I hope to have a good balance of training and life. I’m a little worried because I know I’m so far behind where I would like to be right now. I wonder if the fitness level I had last season is even achievable again in a short amount of time. But, one thing’s for sure, I WANT to get back out there and compete in another 70.3. I want to put together a solid race. And the only way to do that is to stop being consistently inconsistent, and just be consistent.

bobby hicks pool





Life Lessons

18 06 2015

On Monday afternoon, I posted a link to this article, which proceeded to ignite my Facebook wall in a debate about the American work week and whether or not it’s realistic to follow your dreams and do what you love, when doing what you love is something “non-traditional” or “blue collar.”

lifeguarding

My last “non-traditional” job- somedays, particularly this time of year, I really miss it.

I didn’t mean to ruffle any feathers, and the response was totally unexpected. The piece was a feel-good article that resonated with me because of recent conversations with my wonderful boyfriend Bill. Who, by the way HAS followed his dreams, is doing what he loves, and is not confined by the bounds of a 40-hour work week. Oh, and did I mention that his work has taken him to 70 countries and all 50 states (some many times) before he’s 40?

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(it helps when you have a really unique skill)

Now, neither of us are making the big bucks, but we make enough. Heck, we could probably survive on less. We’re making changes in our lives so that we can have more/do more, without actually making more money. It’s pretty simple actually. Make some cut backs where you can. Do I really need that $4 latte? No, my french press and frother do just fine. Oh, and that $3 bottle of Kombucha? No sir, let’s make our own! (Experiment in progress, will let you know how it turns out). Leave a room? Turn off the lights. And making dinner at home is MUCH more cost effective than eating out! Sure, it takes some time, but if you plan ahead, it isn’t so bad! And, if you don’t sit in front of the boob tube, you might actually find out you enjoy cooking!

making pizza

I get it, kids complicate things and so do loans, among other things. But I guess what it comes down to for me, is that article reminded me of some life lessons that I’ve recently started to take to heart, which I feel compelled to share.

The first is that we don’t need as much stuff as we think we do. I’ve recently downsized my closet and donated a bunch of other stuff, that at this point, I couldn’t even tell you what it was, because you know what? I don’t miss it. And, if there was something I actually needed, I could go across the street the the thrift shop where I could likely find the thing I was looking for at a quarter the price. (The horror! Buying something used?!! 😉 )

donated clothes

Life isn’t about stuff. I’m sure you read that article that says happy people spend money one experiences not things. I totally agree. The money we spent on our recent trip to the Smokies was way better than a shiny piece of jewelry or a new jacket. And better yet? It probably definitely cost less! People are always worried about maintaining the lifestyle they have, which often includes far too many material possessions than one can keep track of. And for what? So you can have the nicer car than your neighbor? That will really make a difference when you’re on your death bed.

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The second lesson is that life is short. We only have so much time on this earth, and we live in a pretty amazing place. I don’t want to leave this world without going on some incredible adventures, seeing some amazing places, and above all doing what makes me happy. Sure, I’m lucky that I have a darn good job that I like, with benefits and all that jazz. I can take vacations and slowly chip away at my bucket list.

But, I want to do more, see more. (I’ve totally got my eye on an Around the World trip after meeting Jennifer a few months ago in Chicago.) And just to clarify- it’s not all about being on permanent vacation- there is work to be done everywhere, things that are worthwhile and meaningful.

I don’t have the answer, and at this point, I’m just rambling.

What I do know is that time is a resource we can’t get back, so we must spend it wisely.





A Short Stint

16 05 2013

Well hello there! Long time no see, eh? I’m back and hoping to get some more regular posting in now that my world has calmed down a little. Why was my world so crazy you may be wondering? Well, take a peek a the picture below.

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(photo courtesy of the Children’s Cancer Center)

Um, why are you showing us a bunch of desserts Steph? Let’s take a closer look at the blonde behind the counter.

 

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(photo courtesy of the Children’s Cancer Center)

That’s right, it’s yours truly! I recently took up a part time job at Dough,Tampa’s favorite restaurant Datz’s newest endeavor.

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(photo courtesy of the Children’s Cancer Center)

If you haven’t checked out Dough yet, you must, must must! They are whipping up incredible pastries (ever had a clichy?), delectable doughnuts (maple bacon anyone?), unique flavored gelatos (sriracha peanut butter has just the right amount of heat!), artisanal espresso drinks (nutella latte > mocha any day), and much more. Dough is more than just sweets too- they offer a variety of savory bistro-fare  lunch options.

I’m not here to advertise; I think Dough’s really got something great going on. And actually, I don’t even work there anymore!

Let me back up some…

I currently hold a full time, grant-funded position, which means that eventually the money will run out and either my current company will absorb me on regular payroll, I’ll find another grant to work on within the same company, or I’ll work for another company. I’m currently at a place where I honestly don’t know which of those options I want to choose, if choosing one is even an option. And because I’m at this uncertain place in my career, I’m exploring alternatives to what I currently do. Hence, picking up some part time work at Dough.

In a lot of conversations I’ve had with various people, I’ve been repeatedly told that when your job is something you love, it doesn’t feel like work. If you haven’t noticed, I love food. So working with food seems like a logical place for me. Unfortunately, my experience is limited to serving up water ice and soft serve with my best friend at Custard’s Last Stand when I was 16 years old

Custard's last Stand

Food service is so completely different than what I currently do or have done in the past, so I wanted to at least dip a toe in and see if I  liked it, should I decide to take a giant leap of faith and switch career paths all together. It freaks me out that I even typed that sentence and am putting it out there that that’s even an option at this point. Gulp. So, I interviewed and got a job as a barista at Datz and Dough back in March.

Anywho- my “real” aka full time job just so happened to get really busy right after I started at Dough. In addition to my regular hours, we were working Friday nights and all day Saturday every other weekend since the end of March (thankfully, that just ended for a few weeks). Then, I would work at Dough all day on Sunday and sometimes even Saturday night, if needed. To say I was exhausted would be an understatement. And to be honest, I just wanted my weekend to run errands and go for a bike ride with friends. Something had to give. I was really enjoying my time at Dough and I was learning a lot- which was essentially the whole point of why I started the job in the first place, but in the end, I needed to give priority to my full time job and I really just wanted my weekends back. So, after a little over a month on the job, I quit. I hate, hate, hate that I had to quit something- I despise the “q” word! But it has definitely been a good decision for me.

So, how was it, you ask? It wasn’t a “let me go ahead and quit my job now because I love this so much”, but it also wasn’t a “oh my gosh I hate this so much make it stop.” If I had to place my feelings about it on a continuum, they’d definitely more on the positive side than the negative.

Even though my time was short, I learned a lot-

I learned that I really enjoy greeting the customers and telling them all about the amazing things that were coming out of the kitchen. I even liked some of the more challenging customers-I just didn’t let their comments get me down.

I learned that I’d rather be at a smaller bakery-type place like Dough, than a big kitchen restaurant like Datz.

I learned what a “porto filter” and a “tamp” are.

I learned that I really despise mopping and sweeping white and black floors.

The list goes on, and I’m really thankful I had the opportunity. Was the experience enough to convince me one way or the other? I think the jury’s still out on that one.

So, thanks for listening to probably one of the more personal blog posts I’ve written on here. I hope you’ll stick around for the adventure!