Beyond limitations

Do you ever have days when all of a sudden something clicks?  When you feel like you've been running upstream, and then suddenly the current changes direction?  When you've been trying to make sense of that crazy painting and in the blink of an eye, you see an image clear as day?

I love having those moments of clarity.

With my first triathlon of the season a mere 2 weeks away, I've been oscillating between complete elation and fear.  Sounds about right.  The thing is, I couldn't figure out what I was so afraid of.  I'm so used to heading into races full of fear, that I don't yet know how to act when everything is going well.
Of course, nothing is absolutely perfect, but perfect is boring anyway.  Instead of celebrating my accomplishments in training, I found myself dwelling on the 1 or 2 things that weren't spot on, certain it was the demise of all my hard work.  I found myself stressing over anything possible.  "Oh no, I forgot my snack!!"...that probably means I will get nothing out of my training today, and that puts me a week behind, I'm losing fitness, I'm never going to make gains...woah, woah, woah!  Or, I just forgot a snack, and I'll be home in 30 minutes, probably not the end of the world.  For weeks I have been carrying on like this, looking for reasons or excuses I could give to myself...excuses I could use if I fail.
Here's the deal, I know what my dreams are.  I'm committed to living the life of my dreams. I'm all in.
Make no mistake, it took me the better part of 30 years to get to this point.  To shed my fear of failure, to be authentically me, no holding back.  But, change is not easy, my friends.
I'm continuously striving to be stronger and more courageous, to be driven by love and not fear.
Fear will always be there, and so will failure.
I refuse to let fear guide me and I refuse to let any failure derail my train.
Here's what I WILL DO:
I will not let fear limit my potential
I will cherish each day and every new lesson it brings
I will continue the fight to overcome my self doubt
I will recognize all that I am grateful for
I will live the life of my dreams

What is limiting you from realizing your dreams? What will you do today to push beyond those limitations?

XO

Sarah

Beyond Broccoli, a glimps into my food obsession

It's no coincidence that the most consistent blogging topic I've stuck with this year so far is on food.
Before I get into it, I wanted to first explain why "broccoli"?  It's been a family nickname for as long as I can remember, made permanent by my good friends who lovingly addresses me with "she's choppin broccoli".  Thanks to Dana Carvey, I fear it's a nickname I will never live down.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tz1oP4XhKaM

So, there's the name.  It may also have something to do with having notoriously healthy eating habits.
And I love food.  Have I told you that?

Since I do, I thought I'd share some of my most recent faves.  One is my creation, the other is link to an amazing salad from one of my favorite food bloggers.  CHEERS!

Eggs cooked in Bell Peppers with pesto with pan roasted potatoes and prosciutto
INGREDIENTS:
2 Bell Peppers, cored and sliced into 1 1/2 inch rings (or so), I used red
Eggs, however many you want to make
2 T. Pesto, you might not use that much, but you definitely don't want to skimp
1 russet potato or 2 yukon golds, sliced
2-3 slices prosciutto
2 T olive oil, divided
salt and pepper, to taste

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. 1. Heat 1 T. olive oil in a large skillet over med-high heat.  Once oil is hot, add the potato slices, season with salt and pepper.  Let cook a few minutes, until they are nice and brown on one side before turning. Turn and cook for a few minutes more until brown.  Set aside, keep warm in a warm oven if you'd like.
  2. 2. Return pan to stove, reduce heat to medium and add more oil to the pan if needed.  Add the pepper rings, cooking on one side for about 2 minutes.  Flip over and crack an egg into the center of each ring. Cook until whites are no longer clear and runny. 
  3. 3.  In the meantime, arrange a few potato slices on each plate, top with some prosciutto.  Carefully remove the egg/pepper ring from pan and place on top of potato/prosciutto bed.  Top with a spoon of pesto. 
  4. Eat.


Trust me on this one!
Vietnamese Chicken Avocado and Lemongrass Spring Roll Salad with Hoisin Crackers
 Half Baked Harvest

Your welcome.

Please share your favorite recipes and sites with me, I love exploring new things!

XO

Sarah

Patience and Gratitude (camp part 2)

Guys, I know it's only been a day since my last post, bear with me.

The biggest lesson I learned while at camp is that I need to be patient with myself and my training.
Nuggets of wisdom:
"Everyday isn't going to be brilliant, sometimes it's just checking the boxes" -Cliff
...get to a point where you stop caring that you are in so much pain, and you can focus solely on the effort... (something like that) -CB
"Like everything in life worth doing, running after a night of beer just takes lots of practice. You can do it! " -Carly Johann

There are few things I do in this world solely on my own, and I wouldn't have it any other way!  Camp itself was full of highs and lows, but getting there was nothing short of complete elation.

Massive thank you to all my sponsors and supporters!
If you read my post on Wattie camp, you may have noted I ended with a little accident leaving me with a bruised coccyx - owie!  I'd like to thank Dusty and Karin for ensuring my repaired bike arrived to Tucson in time for my adventures. To Nikki of Advanced Massage Therapy and Tom Ovenell at Ovenell Chiropractic for getting me as mobile and comfortable as possible.

Training camp would not have been possible without the help of ALL my sponsors:

Wattie Ink Elite TeamPowerBar, Herbalife, SpiderTech, BlueSeventy, Reynolds, Rudy Project, ISM, Hypoxico, Speedfil
Sarah Barkley Racing: Adventure Wenatchee, CMI Apples, Arlberg Sports, SET Coaching , Specialized, D'Olivio
And, of course, my coach Cliff English, my family, friends and community!

Here's to 2014! TIME TO ROCK!!!!

Sarah


Bumpy Ride, CEC Pro Camp.

First of all, BIG THANKS to Cliff English for an incredible camp!

It's hard to believe last week happened.  It wasn't pretty, but I did it.
I'm definitely still recovering in more ways than one!  

It's funny, but I'm generally the type of athlete that nails all my workouts, feels good and optimistic heading in and finishes strong with a smile on my face.  Last week I was not that girl.  I've heard most people don't chug along thru training quite so freely, but I didn't fully understand what that would be like.   Until Tucson.

Sunday, March 2, I arrived in sunny Tucson for a week with my coach Cliff English and his Pro Training Camp. Since I haven't taken my pro-card yet, I did feel pretty out of place, but hey, everyone's the newbie once!  I was fresh off our Wattie Ink Training camp in San Diego, so I felt like my fitness was alright, but I was definitely under rested and in kind of a funk, which I assumed would dissipate once training was underway.  

Monday, March 3rd. Day#1. 5k swim, 45 min run.
Since it was the beginning of camp, Cliff wanted to ease us in with a cool 5k swim and a pretty chill 45 min fartlek run around Reid Park.  Somehow I made it through the swim relatively unscathed, and the run felt great!  After trying to nap, I decided to build up my bike and do a quick ride with Jackie. Everything seemed fine, until I started riding and was having a hard time getting it to stay in gear.  No biggie, I thought, probably a quick adjustment.  The shop we were at (TriSports) informed me that my shifter was kaput and I needed a new one, which they did not have.  Finally, 2 hours later at the 3rd bike shop, Fair Wheel in Tucson, they were able to actually FIX the broken springs in my shifter - whew!!!  Off to bed early in preparation for Tuesday.
Present:Heather Jackson, Liz Lyles, Chris Bagg, Chris Boudreaux, TJ Tollakson, Jackie Arendt. Cliff English.

Tuesday, March 4th. Day#2. 4.5k swim, 3.5 hour ride, 25 min run-off.
This day seemed to ease my anxiety a little bit.  The swim was alright, it was a strength focused swim and only about 4.4k - piece of cake!  After the swim, we jumped on our bikes and headed out to Windy Point on Mt. Lemon.  I was feeling pretty good heading up, until about 1/2 way when I got popped and struggled to keep my head into the effort for the remainder of the climb.  Once we reached the top, it was a quick turn around to head back down.  At the bottom, I think I may have actually been the first flat tire of the week!  Wattie and TJ changed it in under 3 minutes and we were on our way back for a 25 min transition run to complete our Tuesday triathlon.  Jackie talked HJ and I into a quick "cool down" swim before showering up and heading to El Charro for a late lunch.  
Over lunch with Jackie (Arendt), Chris (Bagg), Chris (Boudreaux), Liz (Lyles), Heather (Jackson) and Cliff (English), we discussed typical triathlete topics such as doping (PEDs), legalized marijuana and eating disorders. Standard.

Present:Heather Jackson, Liz Lyles, Chris Bagg, Chris Boudreaux, TJ Tollakson, Jackie Arendt, Leanda Cave, Wattie. Cliff English.

Wednesday, March 5th. Day #3. 5k swim, 90 min run, 1 hour ride.
Looked to be a great day on tap, big 5k swim in the morning and an afternoon run sesh in the hot-ish Tucson sun. Yay, run!  In the past year or so, I feel like I've finally found a groove with my run, so I was excited to put it to the test.  Sure 9x800s is a relatively small test, I definitely felt I was up for it.  Until I wasn't.  There's no reason why I wouldn't be able to hold the paces I easily hold in training all the time.  Other than the object resting above and between my two shoulders. The first 6 didn't really feel that great, and though they were supposed to descend 1-3, my paces were pretty much the same.  As long as they weren't getting slower, I was good with it.  Then came #7,8,9 I started to doubt I could finish, question my ability and fitness and pretty much turn what should have been a descent workout into a lapse of self confidence and a moment in self deprecation.  Nice Barkley, pull yourself together.  After that, I spent the rest of the evening trying to figure out how I had gone to that place and how, exactly, I was going to pull myself out of it.  After all, the work had only just begun!

Present:Jackie Arendt, Liz Lyles, Heather Jackson, Chris Bagg, Chris Boudreaux, TJ Tollakson. Cliff English.

Thursday, March 6th. Day #4. 5.5 hour ride, 40 min run.
MONSTER ride!  When the plan said 5-6 hour ride, I had no idea what that really meant.  But I did not, nor have any idea how to, plan for a 110 mile ride with a 13 mile climb...including a total of about 1+ hours of stops for flats, regrouping, etc.  Ride time, about 5.5 hours, nearly 7 hours total.  Needless to say, it did not go well.  Not only had I not fully pulled myself out of the funk from Wednesday, but I also learned about cramping on the bike for the first time. Wonderful. The beginning of the ride seemed to go fine, we rode in a pace line out to the base of Kitt Pass just outside of Tucson.  The climb itself was actually pretty nice, 13 miles pretty steady and great views!  Next to running, climbing is my JAM, something I truly pride myself on.  Not today.  Oh man, when you don't feel good doing the one thing you feel most confident in, it really sucks!  Anyway, physically I made it through, but mentally I was a mess.  We stopped to refuel a bit, I chugged a mini coke and headed back down.  We regrouped and made a quick pit-stop before making our way back to Tucson.  On the way back, I was feeling tired, but pretty sure I'd be able to make it.  I had no idea how much further it would be, and I was running out of fuel in a hurry.  I hit my breaking point with probably about 15-20 miles left in the ride.  I was hot, tired and miserable.  I was so grateful that at that moment the group came past me and help me rally - even though it literally took some pushing to get me caught up and to the finish line.  One quick climb up Gates Pass and the rest was down hill, and thankfully history.  At least I can say it was my longest ride EVER and I learned a lot about fueling, teamwork and, once again, the impact of your mental attitude.  Later that evening I did a relatively light run, and was surprised at how great my legs felt. Whew, I really need to stop questioning my fitness.  
Post run, we headed to grab some yogurt and spend some last few moments with Liz, as it was her last night in town.  Finally, frozen dessert!!  Sadly, it would be our only dessert stop of the week, can't believe I missed out on Frost.  All the more reason to head back!

Present:Heather Jackson, Jackie Arendt, Liz Lyles, Leanda Cave, TJ Tollakson, Chris Bagg, Chris Boudreaux, Paul Thomas, Wattie, Ben Hoffman, Maik Twelsiek. Cliff English.

Friday, March 7th. Day #5. 5k swim, yoga.
Today was feet off day!  Swimming is clearly not my strength, but I ever so slowly see progress, which keeps me going and my goals always keep me motivated to stick with it.  My goal for this 5k swim, was to, no matter what, not give up on myself.  To do this, all I allowed myself to focus on was my form and my effort.  Just keep swimming.  Yay!  Mission accomplished.
Next up, Jackie, Chris and I headed to yoga, which was great!  Definitely need to fit yoga back into my routine on the reg. The rest of the day was spent trying to relax.  Optimistically I had been trying to get a nap in all week, and was sure today I could make it happen. Fail. Oh well, at least I had time to search for a pair of bike shorts to get me through Saturday's 100 miler. Success! 

Present: Jackie Arendt, Heather Jackson, Liz Lyles, Rachel McBride, Leanda Cave, TJ Tollakson, Chris Bagg, Chris Boudreaux. Cliff English.

Saturday, March 8. Day #6. 5.5 hour ride, 30 min run-off.
Yes, I said it, another 100 miler. And another climb. Come on Barkley!!  This ride was headed to Madera Canyon, south of Tucson.  This was definitely my most enjoyable ride of the week!  Somehow I was able to hang on to the group, despite nearly getting dropped after taking a pull at the front. Hey, I tried. Madera is a "gradual" 10-11 mile climb with a punchy last couple of miles.  I was doing great until almost mile 7.  Crap. Just keep going, I told myself.  But I struggled to keep my watts up and felt like I was going absolutely no-where.  I managed to keep trudging along, despite finding myself, yet again, defeated. Once I arrived at the top, everyone was there and about to head back down.  A short but aggressive encounter with ranger sent me from feeling OK completely unraveled.  Thankfully Jackie led me safely down the "mountain" and I was able to re-group. Whew. The ride back had a short 20 min gradual climb followed by a FAST return to town.  I knew the effort was "moderate" not "race pace", so I was determined to hang on.  At first I decided to break it up into 10 min segments, but after 2 minutes I decided maybe 5 min segments would be better.  As we approached the end of the last 5 min...I was just starting to worry, and then I saw Cliff and the end of the road - whew!  Great, smooth sailing from here.  More like BUST ASS!  Don't get me wrong, it was totally fun, but far from easy.  I was grateful to make it back, but a little unsure about how my legs would feel on our run.  My assignment was 3x4min efforts at 70.3 race pace...ok, I got this.  Not only did I, but I felt so good I had a hard time slowing down.  Yay!  
Post workouts, Jackie, the Killer B's and I headed downtown to watch a crit, grab a beer and some dinner.  It was fun to get out and socialize a bit on my last night in town, plus I can never turn down a bike race.  Though I know drinking beer the night before a long run is a recipe for disaster, it sounded too good...at least I remembered after my first bite of hot sauce that I needed to stay away from that too! Of everything that happened that night, the thing I remember most was chatting with Chris Boudreaux and him talking about getting to a point in training and/or racing where you need to stop caring about how much it hurts or how crappy you feel and just GO (that's my interpretation, not a quote).
Just like that, I was off to bed and up again before I knew it.

Present: Jackie Arendt, Chris Bagg, Chris Boudreaux, TJ Tollakson, Rachel McBride, Heather Jackson, Leanda Cave, Lisa Ribes, Wattie. Cliff English.

Sunday, March 9. Day #7. 1 hour, 40 min run.
Sunday, runday...funday?  It should have been!  I felt strange all morning, lacking sensation in my arms and legs and just generally feeling a little junky and sleepy.  Precisely how I feel if I drink a beer the night before I run...which I didn't realize until much later that day.  
Anyway, the plan was 30 min w/u and 2 x 4 miles at IM/70.3 pace. I felt alright on the first one, but wasn't in a good place and for some reason found myself in tears during our rest.  I wasn't quite pulled together before we started the 2nd one, but thought it best to not over-think it and just go.  So, I did, but wasn't ever able to relax or find a rhythm. Immediately I found myself in the same hole I had been trying so desperately to crawl out of since Wednesday's run.  It was all I could do to hold what felt like barely a jog for the last effort and dragged my sorry and demoralized self back to the car.  With the help of Jackie, of course!  Jackie was a huge help to me all week!  She's an incredible athlete and amazing person!
It was JUST A RUN, not the end of the world, but I was so disappointed to be back in a state of funk.

Present: Heather Jackson, Jackie Arendt, Chris Bagg, Chris Boudreaux, Leanda Cave, TJ Tollakson. Cliff English.

Good thing we headed straight to an amazing brunch at North to celebrate Leanda's birthday and what would be my last outing in Tucson.  The place was perfect, the food was amazing and the company world class!
I was sad to be leaving.  Even though my workouts were far from perfect, I learned a LOT and can't wait to go back.  

Be sure to check out camp videos and wrap-ups from Chris Bagg.


XO 
Sarah
 

Camp #1 recap

Sorry for the delay in getting this out, I seem to keep losing days...
It was a long 4 days of winter after returning home from Wattie Ink training camp in SoCal.
This girl lives for weeks like that, guiltless hours of training, plush accommodations, training partners, sunny skies, warm weather, good food, great beer...good times.
Fellow Wattie and Carlsbad roomie already nailed a camp wrap-up here, so I won't give you all the play-by-plays, but here are my highlights and take-aways.  
First of all, sitting down to write this is quite literally a pain in my ass, more on that later.  I'm grateful I finally found a comfortable position and my goal now is to get it all written before I have to get up again, so it may be brief and/or have an abrupt ending.  Or not. 
Attending this training camp had been on the back of mind since first hearing about it, but I had other priorities and didn't think I'd be able to swing it.  After a few long months of solo training in the cold, my priorities started to shift a little bit (go figure).  That's the exact moment when Dusty and Karin invited me to stay with them and a little (by a little, I mean a lot) help with camp expenses...I couldn't get there fast enough!! 
My trip began with a night in West Village with Dusty and Karin, and dinner at Pedelars Fork  in Calabasas...um, yummmmm!  Dinner was great, company even better and I was ready for a good night's sleep and a little morning road trip into Carlsbad for the first day of training camp.  
We arrived just in time to grab a quick bite (Broken Yolk) and head to the seemingly brand new expansive outdoor community pool = heaven.  Before I knew it, we were off to the "races", I was encouraged and excited to see how the rest of camp would unfold. 
We had enough time to scarf down a sandwich from Board and Brew and load up our bikes to head south to Torrey Pines along PCH.  It was a little trafficky (?) and the group was a little squirrely, but the views took my mind quickly away from that and for most of the ride I was in another world, until Flanny ripped one right in my face.  Hey, it happens.
One quick run and shower later, we headed to Nytro for a little team gathering and Q&A with super pro Heather Jackson.  Heather spoke on her recent race at Panama 70.3, nutrition, keeping a balanced racing season, blablabla, she drinks beer - yay!  
Speaking of, food stop #3 was Union ...I was so hungry, I barely remember what I ate....salad, I think?
What I DO remember was my bed was awesome and morning came WAY too soon!
First on the docket was a 90 minute swim. Woof. To my delight, it actually went by FAST!  And was made even more fun by ending with my first ever 200 IM race.  In my defense, the starting protocol should have been discussed...since when do we not get a ready-set-go? UGH!  I totally would have taken it had it not been for my 3 second start delay ;)
Post swim, we headed to the digs where all Wattie-wear will be produced.  The first-hand view of the fabrics and laser cutting technology were pretty sweet, looking forward to getting my mitts on some! 
At this point, I'm pretty sure we ate something as fast as we could and headed out for ride number #2, this time heading north.  It was nice to get out of traffic a bit and see some great scenery, but the best part of this ride was pace-lining through Camp Pendleton!  After our 3 hour ride, Pizza Port was in order!  Great beer, good pizza and a quick stop for ice-cream on the way home wrapped up day 2.
Since running is arguably my favorite, I was thrilled to be starting the day at Penasquitos for nice trail run, with a little tempo work thrown in the middle.  Yay!  
Straight from there we headed to the pool.  Buzz kill. I wasn't thrilled about the idea, but once I was in the water, it felt SO good!
Of course, we had a little recovery ride thrown in for the afternoon and finally a somewhat relaxing evening!  Between us all, Dusty, Karin,  Wattie pro Erin Green, and soon-to-be-pro Carly Johann, we cooked up some great fish tacos and settled in for a quite evening....there might have been a quick trip to the chocolate shop thrown in there too.  
Next up, long ride day.  We had an 80+ miler planned that had us all a little nervous, but I was looking forward to some open road and getting in a rhythm.  As it turns out, it wasn't bad AT ALL!  Due to some great sag support, carefully chosen pit-stops, lots of drafting and level headedness, we managed to bust out a decent ride in the California sunshine.  No complaining here!  
Another decent run along the ocean and headed to dinner at 83degrees in Carlsbad. Goodnight.
We were up and at 'em for our last swim of the camp, and our last day of training.  Boo.
My swim wasn't the best, but I managed to hang in there and had some good take-aways.  Mostly I was looking forward to hitting the trails again for another 90 minute run.  We kept the pace chill and had a very informative aero Q&A with Dusty.  Thanks to Karin's great idea, we had lunch at a fantastic Armenian restaurant, ate as fast as we could (again), power packed and headed out for our final ride of the trip.  It was a great, low key ride, we headed south and pit-stopped at Pizza Port on the way back where most enjoyed a beer to top off camp. 
...and less than 5 miles from the end of our trip, I had a little run-in with an over zealous teammate, leaving me with a little bike damage and a bruised tailbone.  Don't get me wrong, I am grateful the damage was relatively minimal, but kind of bummed to end camp on this note.  We hung out with the great guys at Ride Cyclery to assess damage and wait for a ride back to camp head quarters.
One last dinner with the crew and headed back with Dusty and Karin for the night.
Dusty and Karin are the BEST HOSTS EVER!!  They even took care of getting my bike fixed and shipping it out to Tucson for my next training endeavor.  Grateful.

My Camp Stats:
Bike rides - 5
Hours in saddle - 14
Runs - 4
Hours running - 4 1/3
Swims - 4
Hours in the pool - 4 1/2
Total hours training - 22 4/5
Beers consumed - 4
Glasses of wine - 3
Ice cream - 2
Chocolate bar - 2
Hours of sleep - 41
Naps - 0
Powerbars - 1
Powerbar Gel Blasts - 2 pouches
Powerbar Gels - 2
Powerbar Harvest - 3


Progress not perfection

Over the past month or so, I have been hit hard with a big heaping pile of my own medicine.  
Isn't it funny how that happens?  
Here's the thing, I, like most of you, am much better at giving advise than I am at listening to it.
Over the past few months, I have made many small decisions to sacrifice my own needs...just a little bit at a time.  I actually thought I was getting away with it too.  Until all of a sudden, I was unable to find a way around, through or over the heaping pile of my own medicine.  I needed to figure out how to swallow it.  So here I am, with this big pile, and just as soon as I started to take a little bite here and a tiny bite there, the whole damn pile fell right on top of me.  At that point I was so exhausted and overwhelmed all I could do was lay there.  Both literally and figuratively.  
Ok, no worries, I've got this  **deep breath**
You see, though I successfully put myself under, I do actually have the awareness and tools enough to get myself out of it, for once in my life.  Though I could very easily sit here and beat myself up over it, saying things like "I should know better by now", "how could I let myself down", "I will never be able to be a good coach if I can't be a better example"...
I choose instead to acknowledge that I messed up, take ownership of it, and take the necessary steps to get myself and my life back on track.  But it takes time, just as it took a great deal of time to put me in this predicament in the first place.  
Despite all my imperfections and mistakes, I choose to love myself anyway.  To love myself anyway. Love myself. 
Since February is the month of "love", what better time an exercise in just that. 
Before making a decision regarding my daily life, training and work schedules, I am asking myself...which option will make you feel the most loved.  This is not easy for me, it feels selfish, foreign and futile.  It takes trust, acceptance that I'm worth it and a great deal of patience.  
Trust. Patience. Love. I can do this.
And if I can do this, so can YOU!  
In honor of yourself, in honor of me and in honor of the month of LOVE, you can do this too!!


Beyond Broccoli

Consistency is something I pride myself on.  After all, consistency is one of the keys to success, or so I've heard. However, most recently I learned a lesson in consistency that was not in my favor.
That is, if I consistently don't take care of myself and overload my schedule, I will successfully set myself up for failure in at least one facet of my life. Succeed I did.
There is success in failure, so long as you heed the lesson.

What I want to talk to you about is one of my favorite obsessions. FOOD.
Because so many people ask, I wanted to share with you a couple of my favorites.

BREAKFAST
1/2 to 1 C plain greek yogurt
1/2 to 1 C fruit (cherries)
1 T nut butter (almond)
chia seeds
cinnamon
local honey or maple syrup

LUNCH
4 egg whites...usually 1 yoke, 2 if I'm feeling adventurous.  Truthfully, yokes GROSS me out, but I know they are good for me, so I try
1 big handful organic power greens (cooked with eggs)
1 C cooked brown rice
Salsa, any kind
Base salt & pepper

SNACK
Pears w/ lavender honey goat cheese

I don't eat the same thing every day, but I do eat a LOT of greek yogurt and eggs.
What are some of your favorites?  






Back to the beginning

It seems like I've shared this story at some point before, but feel it's a good time to revisit.
Post-collegiate running days, I took a planned year off of running completely...which turned into more like 2 years.  Not to mention at the time, I ended up battling a severe eating disorder, leaving me with no muscle to speak of, out of shape and barley hanging onto life.  Needless to say, regaining my fitness started from ground 0.
Sound familiar?  I may have been at the other end of the spectrum, but my struggle to reclaim my life, health and level of fitness are something I know many of you can relate to.
I knew it was going to be hard, but this girl (me) has always liked a good challenge.  What did I do?  I put on my big girl pants and went to work.  No excuses.
My fitness plan started with what I considered a pathetic walk/run program and a foundational strength routine.  Physically it was hard, mentally it was the excruciating.  I had gone from an elite level athlete to remedial training.
It took me 2 years to be able to complete a 5k without walking.  Though I've come a long ways since then, when I take the time to think about it, the memory is painfully vivid.

The point is, I DID get out of it.  My fitness returned along with my life.  It was a slow progression and a bumpy road, but it happened.  How did I do it?  It's complicated, but here are few keys.
#1 - Focus on moving forward.  Every year, I set goals that scare me.  Goals that challenge me to be stronger mentally, physically and emotionally.  Goals that force me to get out of my comfort zone, goals I'm fearful I can't accomplish, uncertain they are attainable and doubtful I have the resources and means to accomplish them.  These are the kind of goals that lead you to the person you want to become.
You see, goals that are in your comfort zone, that you know you can achieve and within your realm of expertise are the kind of goals that bore us and most often abandoned.
#2 - Not allowing mistakes to define me, my progression or keep me from my dreams. Yes, I have weaknesses and am far from perfection, but I refuse to let those chinks define me.  I believe in hard work and perseverance.
#3 - Support. It has become increasingly apparent how important it is to be surround with support.  For me that support is incredibly diverse.  The first layer of support is family, friends and mentors.  I rely on them heavily for feedback, both positive and negative as well as keeping me grounded and balanced. My second layer of support is much broader and includes books, podcasts, blogs and other resources that keep me inspired, motivated, confident and humbled.

Don't let your circumstance define you.  Choose to live the life of your dreams.  Sure, it's not easy, but I promise, you won't regret it!





Beyond Broccoli

In an effort to add more dimension to my blog, I wanted to talk about FOOD. Not from a nutritionist point of view, but from a girl, that happens to be an athlete and loves food point of view!  
I grew up in a food loving family, but not by any means what an “average American” would consider food loving...or food for that matter.  We didn’t consume copious amounts of sugary treats or greasy fried goodness. In fact, I recall my Dad candidly remarking “If you eat fat, greasy food, you’ll be a fat, greasy dude”!
I’ve been a lover of all fruits and veggies for as long as I can remember and gladly make a chocolate bar last the better part of a year!  (ice cream is another story)
Lucky for me, I realized young how different foods affect my body, opting for the ones that make me feel good, and keep me from feeling lethargic, lazy and, well…gross!


I will reiterate, I am not an EXPERT, I just listen to my body (sometimes more than others) and eat real food!


Since it's fresh in my mind, I'll start with Christmas dinner.  The only holiday tradition my family has, is trying new things.  No gigantic pile of meat, no mashed potatoes, none of what you would see in most homes, and I wouldn't have it any other way!

CHRISTMAS EVE


I was lucky enough to make dinner for my Dad who was visiting from out of town, and I, which entailed pan seared sea scallops w/ salt and pepper (cooked to absolute perfection. seriously), a side of steamed broccoli (perfectly cooked as well) sprinkled with cheese and we shared most of a demi baguette.  
You see the real star of this meal was WHO was at it, not what we ate.  And the lovely bottle of 2011 Beaujolais ;)


CHRISTMAS
I was actually house sitting, so I had breakfast by myself, played with the dogs and went for a run with my virtual running buddy, all before meeting up with my brother's family for a little gift exchange.  Afterwards I took a quick nap and headed to my Mom's house.
Dinner turned out to be an unexpected treat!  I anticipated having leftovers from my Mom’s breakfast - our ONE  tradition is chili rellenos on Christmas, but she decided NOT to make it - what?!  And felt like stir fry - wha-what? DONE! 
What I love about going to my Mom’s is that she tells me what she wants and I get to create it! (I L.O.V.E. to cook)
So, we had chicken stir fry with absolutely stunning black rice.
It was not from a recipe or planned, so we just grabbed what was in the fridge and gave it a whirl!

Here’s what was in it:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
½ Red Onion, diced
4 large carrots, sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 turnip, cut into matchsticks
1 clove garlic, minced
Ginger - I thumb sized piece, minced
4 baby bok choy, sliced
5 mild chilies, sliced
juice from a mandarin orange
lime
crushed red peppers
soy sauce (low sodium)
ginger-garlic seasoning & spicy Szechuan seasoning


served with black rice


Um - yum!



Sometimes we do plan further ahead, but whether we do, or don’t, it’s never a stress.  The nice thing about not having traditional holiday meals, is that there’s no expectation.  No one’s favorite dish goes missing, instead, we usually all find a new favorite! Better yet, if it's a disappointment, no worries, we weren't planning on making it again anyway ;)
This year, I encourage you to go beyond tradition and just do and/or eat what feels good!


CHEERS!


XO

Sarah

Jackpot

If I told you the future of your dreams was a $2 lottery ticket away, what would it look like?

What would you do with your life tomorrow if today you won the lottery?

"I don't like to gamble, but if there is one thing I'm willing to bet on, it's myself." - Beyonce

YOU are the jackpot.  Do something EPIC with your life.

Running and movement

As a lifetime athlete, I have always had an intense fascination with the human body and how it moves. I've spent countless hours observing, researching and practicing movements to figure out the most efficient path for optimizing athletic performance.

Over the course of my life so far, I have competed in numerous sports from soccer to javelin to long-course triathlon and everything between!  Not only have I had countless hours of personal experience in training and competition, I've also had the opportunity to coach high school varsity athletes (soccer, basketball, volleyball, track, tennis, cross country, rugby and swimming), coach adult endurance athletes (swimming, biking, running and triathlon) and increase the physical fitness and strength of the general population at large as a Personal Trainer.

Here are a few things I've learned as both an athlete and coach:

  • Injuries are often a symptom of a larger issue.
  • Individuals do not all have the same level of body awareness.
  • There is not always one optimal movement pattern, but one that is best for each individual.
  • Successful athletes are a blend of physical talent, mental fortitude and relentless determination.
  • Intuition is underrated. Listen. To. Your. Body.
  • Mental skills take just as much training as physical skills, make time every day.

Though all movement fascinates me, running is no doubt where my passion lies.
Not too long ago, I finished my latest course on running through Bobby McGee, Total Run Transformation and I couldn't be more on fire about running and sharing what I've learned!

This is a great video that highlights some of the basics on running technique.

http://bobbymcgee.com/essentials-of-running-mechanics-with-bobby-mcgee/

In run training, it's important to start with a sound foundation to build upon.  Strong before long.
One must first look at their own movement patterns, kinestetic awareness, range of mobility, stability, flexibility, strength and symmetry.   Every movement you make throughout the day represents habitual patterns which can help identify where inefficiencies originate.  Any compensation allowed to continue over an extended period of time is not only a sign of dysfunction, but can lead to injury.
Strength imbalances are a symptom of compensation and result in instability around the joints. This results in our bodies relying more heavily on smaller stabilizing muscles as the large muscles/muscle groups are not able to contribute effectively.  Once the stabilizers are over worked, recovery is compromised, reducing your ability to train consistently and more often than not, leads to injury.
In order to be able to maximize your training, it's exponentially important to reduce both your inefficiencies and risk of injury!

YOUR TURN:
How is your body moving?  Take the time to check in with yourself.
Does what you are doing feel right?  It might feel easy, but the path of least resistance only the most worn, not the most efficient.
Have you seen pictures or video of yourself running and/or moving lately?  Ask a friend to help.
Do you have chronic injury/pain and treating the symptoms does not seem to be helping? If so, you haven't found the real problem yet.
Have you sought the help of an expert?  It's worth considering.

Remember -
Train hard, live well!

Sarah


Thankfulness

Thankfulness:
         1. Aware and appreciative of a benefit; grateful.
2. Expressive of gratitude: a thankful smile.

I can't think of a day in my life I'm not grateful for! In fact, most days before I go to sleep, I write down 3 things I'm grateful for. This exercise is especially helpful on those "bad days", I am able to put everything behind me, go to bed with a full heart and look forward to the coming day.
On this day in particular, I wanted to share a few things I'm thankful for:
My family. There is nothing like unconditional love.
My friends. They keep me grounded.
Holidays. I love seizing the opportunity to express gratitude and spend time with loved ones.
Long weekends.
Rock concerts. LOVEd me some PEARL JAM this weekend. Best. Concert. Ever.
Training buddies. Having people to train with can make all the difference on long weekends with lots of travel, late nights and the previously mentioned concert.
Triathlon. I could not imagine my life without this sport and the community within.
Portland. Good people, good vibe, great food.
Road trips. Always an adventure.

Do you have an attitude of gratitude everyday?
Start by writing down one thing every night and reading it back in the morning.





The WHY

All week I thought on this blog, inspired to write something other than my thought life.  I came up with some really great topics!
As I sat down to write, I closed my eyes to clear my head. Opened my eyes, and let my intuition write take over and write what the topic should be.
"THE WHY"
REALLY?  Great.  Dear instincts, thank you for never giving me an easy out.
Though I do spend a fair amount of time speaking on my thought life, it is not an easy task.  It's not easy to let go of all my protective barriers and be able to write freely, and publicly.
First, before answering WHY, do we need to define the WHAT? This one took me a while.
Honestly, no, it doesn't matter what the WHAT is, my WHY is the same.

WHY do I do what I do? WHY am I who I am?

Because I choose to live a life worth telling a story about. Because I want to live the life of my dreams, not just dream about it. Because I want to inspire others to LIVE the life of their dreams by letting their authentic selves shine and grow brighter every day.  Because the best way I know how to inspire is to lead by example.  Because I am immensely grateful for my life and the things I get to experience in it, every day.
Why not!


Grateful for FOOD!

Behold off-season, holiday season, sweater season, snuggle up season, snow season, season of joy and taking the time to be grateful season!

Don't worry, I'm not going to list off all the things I'm grateful for, none of us have that kind of time!
What I am going to do, in honor of one of my favorite things to obsess about, FOOD, I'm going to share with you some of my go-to FOOD BLOGS.  
This is the perfect time of year to try out a new recipe or 100, and get a jump start on a sound nutrition plan for the coming race season.  Or whatever, to be honest, I don't EVER need a reason to explore food websites/blogs/recipes. 

Oh, also, I have no affiliation with any of the following, I just adore them and hope you do too!  A lot of them lean towards a Paleo diet.  I don't follow a "diet" of any kind, but I like that they use REAL FOOD, and fun alternatives to some of the not-so healthy foods a lot of Americans grew up with.

thespunkycoconut.com (just posted a great Thanksgiving menu)
lottieanddoof.com (can't wait to make their milk-liqueur)
buttermeupbrooklyn.com (delish maple snaps and espresso-kissed brown butter cookies & I made their Twisted Double Chocolate and Orange Swirl Bread for Christmas brunch last year - uh-MAZE-ing)
againstallgrain.com (also just posted on Thanksgiving favorites)
thepioneerwoman.com (butternut squash and kale quesadillas are one of my go-tos!)
pinchofyum.com (pomegranae, kale and wild rice salad with walnuts and feta...serves 4??  ha, oops!)
multiplydelicious.com (dark chocolate java cups...you are going to DIE)
withstyleandgraceblog.com (pumpkin spice chia smoothie...yummmm)
weelicious.com - just plain FUN
smittenkitchen.com
mybakingaddiction.com (fresh peach jalapeno margarita - YESSS!)
loveandoliveoil.com (goat cheese...wait for it.....sugar cookies!  You heard me. Don't knock it 'til you rock it!)
coconutandlime.com (raspberry thai basil jam & grilled beef salad tacos, I used carne asada and it was perfect)
chocolatecoveredkatie.com (where to start...peanut butter biscuits, avocado smoothie...)
chocolateandzucchini.com 
trimarni.blogspot.com - for ACTUAL nutrition advise for endurance athletes and good recipes too!

PLEASE share your favorites with me too!

Hope you enjoy and find some fun ideas to try this season!

XO

Sarah

I feel like an impostor.

As I've talked about, time and time again, I've spent a lot of time cultivating a healthier thought life for myself, which has rewarded me beyond my wildest dreams.  So much so, I was a little cocky and a little complacent, thinking that I had a good handle on it.  Not that I was going to quit the work, but that I could justify a break from the tools and routines I had in place to keep myself on track.
Ha, I'm sure you can all see clearly where this story is headed.... TRAIN WRECK!
Yup.
My training since Vegas has been going really well. I took a couple weeks to just do my own thing, put my feet up and jump in on some classes, group training, whatever.
After a few weeks, I more-or-less jumped back into training and a couple cyclocross races.
I'm extremely thrilled to be working with a new coach, Cliff English, so it's been a new routine and really fun for me.
BUT, something was missing. If you don't know me, I will tell you that I L.O.V.E. to train. Everything about it, every time I get to do it.  But I was feeling flat.  I would procrastinate my training sessions until the last possible second and I felt uninspired.  My motivation was trapped between really wanting to get going with this new program and feeling like I wanted to self-sabotage my workouts so that if I failed, it would be on my terms.  Because I know those self-sabotaging feelings well, I know how to push through them, but it's exhausting, I didn't understand where they were coming from.  After-all, I was coming off a great season and thrilled to be working with a new coach and filled with so much gratitude and optimism for the future.
A little over a week ago, I was listening to one of my fave podcasts (I listen to a LOT of podcasts) while running on one of my favorite local trails, on Impostor Syndrome. When I read the title, I wasn't even going to listen to it.  My thought was it didn't apply to me and would my time be better spent listening to something "inspiring."
My instincts told me to listen anyway.
As I listened, I kept thinking, gees, I can't imagine feeling like an impostor.  Feeling like I couldn't internalize my accomplishments and undeserving of my success.  Dismissing success as a fluke, luck, timing or deceiving others into thinking I was more intelligent or competent than I really am...
Yeah, it's a good thing I have this DOWN!
Ha!  It was a little over 20 minutes into the episode when it started to resonate with me, then about 5 minutes later, I was in tears....and tears...and more tears.
CRAP.  I too felt like a poser.
UGH, how did this happen?!
I'll tell you.  I worked so diligently on my thoughts on the front end of racing, leading up to and during a race, that I had neglected what I would tell myself afterwards. Afterwards I was a mess. I knew well enough to learn how to accept compliments and congratulations from people, but I was not internalizing that at all.  I felt like it wasn't real. It felt like a fluke. I felt that any minute the carpet was going to be ripped from under me and they would see I'm nothing special.  They would see I was just in the right place at the right time.  I felt that not only did I not truly deserve success, I didn't deserve the praise and attention.  It's even difficult to admit that because I don't want anyone to think I don't appreciate their love and support.  Truthfully, I can't even begin to put into words how grateful I am.
Now that I've made these realizations, it's time to take action by acknowledging and accepting that I am good enough, stop holding my breath and celebrate all wins-big and small.
And work on these things every day.

Here is a link to the podcast.
http://www.trishblackwell.com/29-overcoming-impostor-syndrome/

XO
Sarah

Painful awareness

Well, this is unexpected.  My next blog post was all planned out, to share with you the tools I used over the past year to get my Positive Mental Attitude in check.  
But, I feel compelled to share a few thoughts that have been on the front of my mind for the past week.  
As a triathlete/cyclist, I spend countless hours on the open road, daily risking my life to hazards beyond my control.  Some days I don't think twice about it, for whatever reason, my thoughts have been weighing heavy on me this week.  Then, with the news of Amy Dombroski yesterday, my thoughts seem even heavier.
There is no question that Amy lived an exemplary life, admirably and unapologetically pursuing her dreams and appreciating and loving every minute of it.
As quoted from a news article, "She didn't mess around with what people thought of her," Mara Abbott said. "She was passionate and she was happy and she was really able to live from a place that I think very few of us can."
Even if you didn't know Amy, I don't know how this wouldn't break your heart. It hurts.
Though it could be said, she was doing what she loved up until the very last second, I think this notion is overly romanticized in adventure/endurance sports. Do we let fear dictate what we choose to do, no, and for that I don't ever apologize.  That doesn't mean it's easy, and that doesn't mean we don't crave a full, rich, long and healthy life.  No one wants to go out early, no matter how big the bang is.  Our active/endurance sport/outdoor adventure community, though vast, is well connected and tragic events ripple quickly, serving as a reminder of how fortunate we are for making it through all those close calls and the fragility and scarcity of every moment.
Funny thing is, it seems the difference between us and everyone else isn't that we face these close calls, the difference is how painfully aware we are of them.  Our lifestyle does not allow us to forget not only how incredible this world is, as diverse geographically as there are ways to explore it, but also how incredible life is in the same way.
With a heavy heart, I rode yesterday.  I rode to remember and to also forget.  I was afraid and it was invigorating. I rode for joy. I rode for heartbreak. I rode for freedom.  I rode to appreciate the scarcity of every moment and how abundantly lived each one should be.  I rode to appreciate my body and what it has led me to accomplish. I rode for hours. I rode hard. It was brisk, my body was tired, my mind was exhausted and I was hungry.  But just as every time before, I didn't want it to end. I love to ride. Every.Time.
Please let this be a reminder to do what you love and love what you can do.  Spend your time with those you love.  Smile with all your heart.  Appreciate the moment. Don't worry about things that might happen, for that time may never come.

Train hard. Live well.

XO
Sarah

Mind Over Mountain

Some of you may have heard, nearly 3 weeks ago, I raced in Vegas (Henderson) at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships.  The race itself was great, but more remarkable than the way I raced physically was my mental and emotional preparation and race day execution.
As you may have guessed, yes, that is the segue into my non-traditional race report.
I'm assuming most of you really aren't terribly interested in a play-by-play of race day... my splits can be found at ironman.com.
Where was I...to set the stage for this story, lets rewind to 1 year ago at this race.
Basically I spent the few days before the race in 2012 incredibly anxious and uncertain of what I was doing there and how to quantify my expectations.  Not unlike big races I had done in the past, I was secretly hoping I could find a way to temper my expectations by sabotaging my efforts.  Usually that meant at some point, giving up on my efforts, accepting doubt as truth.  In fortuitous fashion a mechanical error (on my part) thwarted my best effort at a podium spot by setting both my bike and run splits 20 minutes off my goal (40 minutes total).  Post race, I spent the next month or so sulking around, and doing some, for lack of better description, honest soul searching.  I needed to figure out if I still had the passion to keep racing triathlon.  Beyond having that passion, did I possess the strength necessary to forge past the doubt and fear that had put the smack down on my progress and potential as a competitive triathlete.  After what felt like an eternity w/n my own head (about a week), there was.no question where my passion was and not only that, where my mind and heart needed to be in order to make my pursuit a reality.
Fast forward a few months and I had not only made a complete shift mentally, but I had also quit my "corporate job", started a new career centered more around fitness and triathlon and moved to a much more supportive community in Wenatchee.  If you have never done something like this, I highly recommend it.  It will push you in ways you didn't think were possible and you will learn more about your inner strength and perseverance than you ever realized was there.  Over the past 9 months, I have been through many ups and downs...so high I never thought I would come down and so low I was ready to throw in the towel...and every where between.  EVERY SINGLE DAY I recommitted to my goals and vision, which didn't make it easier as much as a reminder of where I started and how far I had indeed come.
This quote saw me through a lot:
"A ship is safe in the harbor, but that's not what ships are for".
My intent with this life is to do exactly that.  Live in every moment, pursuing what brings me joy and surrounding myself with people that make my heart smile.
For me, it has not always been easy to forge through fear and doubt in order to live true to my intent.  I have always been a master of training, physically pushing myself beyond what I thought was within my realm of capability.  But, I broke a LOT more than anyone realizes.

One of my great sources of inspiration has been from my fellow Wattie Ink teammates.  Stories of triumph, over fears, injuries, obstacles, etc.  These stories are awesome reminders of the fragility of life, vulnerability and validity that I am not alone on this journey.  Not only that, but my family, friends and Wenatchee community have been beyond supportive and up-lifting. My gratitude is beyond words!

Once racing started this season, it was clear to me how much impact these life changes had on my thought life.  Racing was no longer daunting, it was joyful.  Don't get me wrong, I've always loved racing, but it caused me copious amounts and anxiety, both leading up to and during an event.
It's no secret, that it has taken WORK to get to this point.  Daily reminders and mental skills exercises, cutting out what causes anxiety and spending my time solely with people and activities that would build me up.  I knew what I had to do, deep down I was a skeptical that I could change and that IF I did change, would it bring the results I hoped for.

Back to the present.  Though I had a few minor issues, my racing this season was an incredible success.  I trusted in my preparation and my ability to perform, and I used an ever so simple, yet effective mantra, "I believe I can".  EVERY time I started to doubt, have anxiety or feel my HR creep up a little too high, I repeated "I believe I can" over and over and over.  Without thinking about it, my HR would ease, shoulders relaxed and my head would pick up...yes, it REALLY does work!
Finally, here we are at IM 70.3 World Championships.  This was the true test of how far I had come.  I refused to let myself slip into my former mental state pre-race, by spending a little time relaxing and a lot of time hanging out with family and Watties to keep my mind occupied, as far away from over analyzing as possible.  Come race morning I had actually arrived relatively calm, despite the fact it was pouring down rain.  I did my due diligence, making sure everything was in place, nutrition dialed and bike was in working order.  There was one small hiccup in nutrition, but I just rolled with it, figuring panic would do me more harm than good.
Because racing with a clear and confident state of mind is so new to me, I had no idea what to expect, and could not wait to find out.  Seriously.
Once the gun went off, I found myself in a not-so-great position in the water, but I just found a rhythm and tried to stick with it, staying as relaxed as possible to conserve energy for the bulk of the race yet to come.  Maybe I conserved a bit too much.  Either way, I felt great coming out of the water and couldn't wait to attack the bike ride.  The pouring rain made for an interesting twist, but I'm from the PNW after-all, this was right in my wheel house!  As usual, the first 45 miles flew by, remaining right on my goal. Suddenly I had a thought that what-if I completely fall apart on the run and all this hard work would be for not..."I believe I can, I believe I can, I believe I can..." Whew, crisis averted.  KEEP PUSHING!
As I headed out on the run, I consciously took it SLOW.  Once I found my legs, I just tried to keep a rhythm.  All was looking up until excruciating pain started radiating from my left knee all the way up to my hip.  Oh man, just keep GOING!  The rest of the run went like this: BREATHE. RELAX. WATTIE - YAY! SMILE.  repeat.
I knew physically, and on paper, I was capable of a great result.  When I crossed the finish line, I had no idea where I stood and was not about to stand around waiting for results.  What I wanted was to be grateful for how far I had come and relax with my Mom for a minute.
About 30 minutes post-race, the results came to me and I was absolutely floored.  My first emotion was relief.  I had actually not let myself down, and had made my support team proud!  WHAT?!?!
Looking back, the experience is still very surreal.

I am grateful for pushing through the hard times and not giving up on myself not only in Vegas, but over the past year.  However, I have to give credit where it's due.  It would not have been possible without the following: my whole family (Mom, Jeff, Dad, Brother,  uncles Steve & Bill Smith, Grandma & Mike Pettus, and my grandma Barkley who used to chase down JackRabbits in the fields of Kansas), Wattie Ink, Power Bar, K-Swiss, BlueSeventy, FuelBelt, ISM, Specialized, Arlberg Sports, SET Coaching (Jason Jablonski), Gold's Gym of Wenatchee Valley, Polar, Adventure Wenatchee, Gale Fruit Company, my loving and uber supportive friends, the inspiring athletes I coach, and my incredibly encouraging and supportive Wenatchee community.
THANK YOU WITH ALL MY HEART!



"Vulnerability is our most accurate measure of courage" Brene Brown

Having spent hours upon hours this past weekend with my own thoughts, Brene Brown's words were stuck on a loop that I couldn't shake.
"Vulnerability is our most accurate measure of courage."
And, that of the original definition of courage, which is "to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart".
Got it.
Everything about triathlon makes me come alive and my heart sing.  Pushing my body to places I never imagined possible is a very vulnerable place to go, but it's where I thrive, and it is the story my heart has to tell.  In order to live the life of my dreams, it's required to let go of parameters, judgment and doubt. Not only that, but it's also required to adopt the belief that I'm worth the life I crave.
Easy, I got this.
Willingly or not, vulnerability sometimes sucks.  Leaving ourselves open, virtually unprotected leaves the door wide open for a LOT of REALLY GOOD things, but we can't selectively let only the good in. Life is meant to be lived in full abundance, not only abundantly good.  So, along with the good, comes some bad, hurt and struggle.
My point is not to bring to light that life isn't all wine and roses, but to remind you (and myself), that it's not supposed to be easy, you are always stronger than you think, and to have belief that it will be worth it.  Courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.



When life hands you peaches...

First of all, if life hands you peaches, you already know you're one up on the lemons.  Which brings me to the second thing you should be grateful for, Peach jalapeño margaritas!  Seriously.  You can thank me later.  If life hasn't dropped a box of peaches on your door step, find some.

Why peaches, you ask? Well, here's the thing.  Sometimes it can feel like you were given a big box of lemons, which can be a little overwhelming.  What can I possibly do with all this sourness?  Do I have enough sugar?  But, have you ever thought that maybe, just MAYBE, it wasn't lemons to start with? Chances are that you might have been given something more like peaches.  Sometimes even ripe peaches need a little time off the tree until they're perfectly edible.  And the possibilities from there are virtually endless.
Sometimes I find my self reacting before I know what's really in the package.  Instead of being reactionary and trying to fix the problem right away, it just so happens, that sometimes the best thing to do is take your time to figure it out.  Take a step back so you can see more clearly, take a deep breath and trust that you will know exactly what to do and have all the tools to handle whatever it is. Another good thing about peaches is that they freeze well too.  So, you can cut them up into smaller pieces, put them in the freezer and deal with them a little at a time.  You see, it's also important to realize that you don't have to figure it all out at once or come up with the perfect divine solution right away.  Start with trusting yourself, your instincts and your intention and move forward.  Yes, you do have to move, that part is up to you...but the margaritas can be helpful if you're stuck.

When life hands you lemons, you have the ability to turn them into peaches.  Just make sure to keep some tequila, lime and jalapeños around for the occasion, and please invite me over!

PS.  Washington peaches are now in harvest, how convenient!

What IS

I've actually been sitting here working on my long-over-due race report from Pacific Crest. Though there were quite a few highlights from not just the race, but my travels to Bend, it's not what I feel compelled to talk about.
Yesterday, I signed up for a SUP Yoga class, and though I was very excited when I signed up, I realized once the day arrived that I wouldn't be able to squeeze in my bike/run training before...which is what I usually prefer.  I mean, what better way to end a hard day of training than a good yoga session to get things loosened up, add a little muscular endurance and nothing can beat my favorite pose, Shavasana.
As it were, I just couldn't make it work...so I'd start my day with Yoga and end with my bike/run, which would also fall smack dab in middle of the days heat.  Deep breath.
I knew there had to be a reason for all this and I needed to just let go of my perception of the "best way" to get things done and not just try a different way, but believe that it could potentially be better. Breath.
Let me just say, SUP Yoga surpassed my expectations!  Thank you Bridget Shae and Ila Yoga!
It was definitely a challenge, but you really can't beat the serenity of practicing on water.  Magical. Seriously.
Though I was still a little unsure of how the rest of my day would unfold, I revisited my intention for the day, and carried the belief with me that there is a chance this would be better than I imagined.  It was.  At first I felt a little sluggish during my warm-up, but I really tried to just stay in the moment  and accepting of what IS instead of over thinking.  Starting the day with this mindset from yoga, ingrained it into my thick skull and translated seamlessly to training.
This view didn't hurt either.

My expectations so easily put parameters on everything, which in turn, limits the outcome.  
I am tired of living a limited life, aren't you?
Today, I give myself permission to let go of my expectations, to live beyond my parameters and accept that what IS, is so much more than I planned.

Onward.  XO

Sarah

PS.  I'd like to start every day this way, if anyone is interested in teaching a 4am yoga class, I'm in!