I don't do 40 days of anything unless there is a goal. My goals have been one big "push, push, push until you get there. No dawdling!" This however, is my journey of doing 40 straight days of practices that some may see as "easy" but aren't really. Give me IM training and I am committed...Give me 40 days of healthy, slowing down, breathing in the days and I am challenged!!
This is what inspired me:
In my 59th year of life, I can hear the clock ticking..tick..tick..tick..This is not a dress rehearsal and there is no time like the present and all the other euphemisms, of which I can remember none at the moment..I finished my 5th Ironman 3 months ago, proceeded by two hand surgeries. I had pretty severe Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, a diagnosis I had no knowledge of, until I started to wake up several times a night with numb, very pain ridden hands. It surprised me. I exercise, eat basically healthy, I am beating the clock, right? Well, apparently not...I put off the surgery for 18 months, with every 2-3 months of steroid shots into my wrists, which kept the CTS at bay until I could fit the dreaded surgery in. Finally biting the bullet in December and with much in trepidation, I underwent the knife. First the left hand, then 2 weeks later the right. The first surgery was a breeze, the 2nd-not so much..However, I survived and voile! NO more pain/numbness in hands..
One thing I had to give up for 2 months was Yoga. I admit, I am hooked on it. I started with a 2-3 days a week practice in February 2012, with a Groupon at Julia's studio, a mere 5 minutes from my house. At first I felt like a zombie trying to relax and twist into pretzel like poses. I was very unnatural for me, I have tight muscles from all the years of triathlon training. I have a slightly curved spine and 58 years of bad posture habits. I was reassured this would get better...And it did..Soon I was actually enjoying Yoga and was amazed! I started feeling more relaxed in life, began having less and less after training pain.Yoga enthusiasm use to be such a foreign concept to me, now it is part of my life in a huge way. I attribute my lack of soreness, my ability to walk immediately after Ironman to Yoga last year. I distinctly remember the first time I went to pick something up off the floor and easily stooped down with straight legs with no problems....I was amazed and thought Crap! This stuff really works!
Finally at the beginning of February, I inched my way back to "down dog". The wrists were my limiter. They were still sore until the middle of the month. I pushed on, doing what I could first on my own with online Yoga sessions, then back in the studio with my Yoga family at Julia's. I have been going several times a week, trying to "catch up" I suppose to my pre-surgery self. Again, I felt like a fish out of water for the first few times. Seems my short, tight muscles just didn't remember..I have carried on until a few days ago, when The Challenge came. Julia announced the 40-Day Challenge based on the idea that anything done 40 days in a row becomes habit..I didn't think much of this until it was announced that there were prizes! at the end, one of which is an outfit at my all time favorite store Lululemon..OK, that was a game changer. I love to think I would do healthy things just to take care of myself but the whole "I need a carrot at the end of the stick" is very much adherent to my personality it seems. So I went home, got out the 40-day Challenge chart and started writing.
My first decision was that I wanted to make this something to DO not NOT DO (double negative here). In other words no RULES (you can't do this, you can't do that), only things I CAN DO..There is a distinction here. I live my life around rules sometimes....You can't do that... You shouldn't eat that..You need to definitely STOP doing that! A very negative habit I have developed to whip my self in proverbial shape...This only serves me to be a driven, unrelenting version of myself, who never quite "gets there" and so is in constant diappointment about "not ever arriving" to that magical place of perfection! Hey Debi-give yourself a break for 40 days here!
Goals for the Challenge:
1. Do Yoga for 40 days straight. Now this sounds like such an easy task since I am retired, what else do I have to do with my life, right? You would think this was a no-brainer. However, H and I travel alot, probably more than I even think, so hmmmm how to deal with this? Aha! I could commit to Yoga on the road, either on my own or a foreign studio, a walk out on the edge of the branch for sure for me. Alot of effort for Lululemon! However, this was doable. It's only 40 days, right? So when I am in the Q, Yoga at my friendly, neighborhood studio each day then on the road, I need to be creative!
2. Eat 2 servings of fruits and vegetable a day. Now this MUST sound idiotic to some...doesn't a full blown triathlete do this anyway? Wrong! I think the opposite is true. When I train alot, I have a mentality that I can eat anything including a huge piece of carrot cake, any kind of chocolate and bars galore..This should substitute for my lack of fiber and vitamins right? Isn't carrot cake a vegetable?? The consciousness of eating 2 servings of actual, real fruit and veges is foreign to me in general. Now H cooks a very healthy dinner every night, thank goodness if not, I would be eating carrot cake and calling it a night each dinner! So apples, oranges, smoothies made with real fruit/veges, kale (wtf is Kale anyway, isn't that a garnish?) and the like, here I come!
3. OK, this is the toughest one for me: Meditate for 10 minutes- 2 times a day for 40 days. I know full well that meditation improves health, sleep, mental alertness, all that good stuff. My best intentions have gotten me nowhere. Maybe Lululemon will get me there! Does anyone know how long 10 minutes is when just sitting there??? Try it..it feels like an eternity to me. I decided to do said meditating right when I wake up and as I go to sleep. I have always had sleep issues as a adult and listening to meditation tapes occasionally, I know this does put me out almost immediately! How hard could 20 minutes out of my busy, self driven day could it be? Ha-ha snort!
4. Two positive affirmations 2 times a day for 40 days. Now this may seem like a walk in the park too, and it is really (takes less than 45 seconds) but again habit is the key. So if it is on a list, I will remember to do it, right?
I have these things on my Iphone/Ipad combo as a "daily task" so my phone reminds me if I "forget". I have the list on my board right in front of my computer. I would have to be asleep not to see/hear the cues..My plan is to blog as much as possible about my journey (maybe I should have put that on the list), which ends April 2nd, one of my daughter's birthdays. A good way to keep track..reach the goal.
Then there is the "The Chart" (compliments of Julia):
With real life stickers and all!! Just like kindergarten-awesome! Brings back memories but I am a chart person so it works for me..
First days of meditation went OK. The first day I looked at my watch when I thought it was 10 minutes and it had only been 4 minutes-this is torture! How people meditate for 1 week or a month somewhere is totally and utterly beyond me!! Yesterday it went better, I am experimenting with guided meditations, just music and eventually just a candle and me..or not..
Yoga has been the easy part. There was a moment yesterday in the afternoon that I was tired!! So on any other day, I would have skipped Yoga but alas I dragged my ass to the studio, knowing I would be glad eventually. Afterwards, I did feel better..Yoga is like that..you feel sleepy, tired at the beginning of a class and by the end, you are a rock star!! I can tell already, I will have to fight the urge to try and do deeper, better, more pretzel like poses each time. Not that this is a bad thing, but when it runs across my brain, it sounds like What's wrong with you! You have been doing Yoga a year and you still can't do that? Try harder!! A sample of my self defeating thoughts that are not present all the time.. They do take up residence when I have the thought that I am so average!! I'll have to find a way to relax and let Yoga (life) happen naturally..this is my challenge!
Fruits and veges...well, so far, so good. I find if I make a smoothie with all fresh stuff, I get my daily dose and more of greens, reds, yellows, orange, etc. foods in my day. Plus the healthy dinners and I am there!
Affirmations...another so far easy one. It's not like I have to believe this stuff yet, right? I believe in myself and such, are not my first thoughts in the day (ever) so this is new to me and yet doable..
OK, so I got stars on Days 1 and 2. I am on Day 3 right now and already managed to meditate and not look at the clock until 10 minutes this AM!! Yee-ha!!