“Embrace failure! Never never quit. Get very comfortable with that uneasy feeling of going against the grain and trying something new. It will constantly take you places you never thought you could go. This has been my mantra for years. I always remember I won’t do things right on the first try. So failure is mandatory for success!” – Terry Crews
Embrace Your Failures
Feeling deflated and not in form to embrace my failures, I try not to stomp out in a strop with myself from my Strength & Conditioning class on Thursday night. I was pure crap and was feeling mightily frustrated by my efforts. I found some of the exercises very tough and even though I was giving it loads, I still wasn’t doing them right and my muscles were not feeling the benefit they should have been. My exercise nemesis has to be 100’s. We are all groaning on the floor doing these and dead bugs and at the end Gary declares that our stomach muscles should be on fire. My stomach muscles feel NOTHING, they are not even twitching, never mind being on fire! I felt like I was battering away at it but my stomach muscles are obviously shot altogether and not willing to engage. I was tormented. When we proceed to our circuits there are even more 100’s to contend with. I am contrary enough now with minding my runner’s knee which has skulked back with a vengeance so I just motor on with the circuits, struggling to keep my narkiness with myself at bay. It’s only when I’m back in the car that I remember some great advice that our coach Gary gave us at a previous Strength & Conditioning class. He advised not to fear when we cannot do a particular exercise correctly but to see it as a good thing, to embrace the exercise we are struggling with and see it as a personal challenge to focus on, to practice and improve on it every week. So on my drive home, instead of listening to my inner grump, I choose to embrace the improvements I need to make, refocusing on my goals with the eye and patience of a trained assassin.
“Embrace failure! Seek it out. Learn to love it. That may be the only way any of us will ever be free.” – Tom Robbins
Embrace your failures. What does this mean? Does it mean accepting your setbacks as they are and that you can do nothing about them, choosing to resign yourself to your defeats and downfalls? It surely does not! When you choose to embrace your failures, you choose to learn from them, to grow, to bounce back stronger. Failure is not a dead-end. It is another stepping stone to success, once you choose to take that step. There is no point in damning yourself when you can choose to look at failure as being instructive and enriching. Failure is no reason to give up or to quit. Failure is a potent learning tool should you choose to learn from it. Do not allow setbacks or failures to undermine your efforts or your nerve to continue to reach for your goals. When you embrace your failures you choose to review your progress and use what you learn to generate better results, instead of allowing feelings of despair to fester.
Choosing to embrace your failures secures your willingness to keep taking active steps forward. When you are open and willing to fail you shine a spotlight on where there is room for learning and growth, should you choose to embrace it, instead of stagnating with feelings of terminal ineptness or inadequacy. Allow failure to become part of your progress dynamic, encouraging you to build your fearlessness and determination. Be tenacious in your quest to reach for your goals. You are the only one who decides your attitude to failure and setbacks. Learn to control your response attitude to one of resilience and growth and never giving up. No one gets it right all the time. You will get things wrong and have to learn to be okay with that once you also choose to learn and continue to actively move forwards. All those who shine at what they do had to start at the beginning too and have made mistakes along the way to success. Failure is the gift of thrusting you forward so choose not to resist it. Who knows what heights you are capable of reaching once you choose to embrace your failures?
“Don’t fear failure… In great attempts it is glorious even to fail.” – Bruce Lee
My Running & Exercise Update
Monday 15th February – Tonight’s running session with Adrenaline Running Club is tough. Very tough. When Gary announces we are running gear intervals, from Gear 1 to Gear 4 in intensity I start quaking in my runners at the thoughts of the daunting session ahead. The session is split into two parts, the first part is (Gear 1, 3, 2, 4) x 3 reps, a quick water break and the second part is 2 reps of the same. Gear 1 is a very slow jog or walk. Gear 2 is a quicker jog. Gear 3 is a hard run. Gear 4 is a “give it all you’ve got!” run. Every minute we change gears at the blow of the whistle and I feel like a tasered cat dragging myself around the track. What the hell is going on? It feels like my worst running session yet, my breathing feels laboured and I figure any minute now I am going to crash and burn on the track, my body screaming for paramedic attention. I’ve never felt as slow and awkward in my life, like I’m running with two left legs. I stay going all the same and embrace the discomfort. Watching everyone else battle on through with it around me gives me courage to follow it through. With relief I stagger like a gasping buffalo over for a drink at the end of part one. Part two is more of the same but I don’t feel as distressed, probably because I am running even slower! The session ends with core work of squats with knee lifts, plank push-ups, and I can’t actually remember the third one as I imagine I was delirious with exertion at that stage and have blocked it out!! I was stunned to see when I checked my Garmin that I have run my fastest overall pace ever of 11:12/mi for part one, with my fastest mile EVER of 11:17!! I am well chuffed with myself. When I started with Adrenaline Running Club 5 weeks previously my running pace was about 14:30/mi and pushing for the 14:00/mi so to run a 11:12/mi pace tonight is a massive achievement for me. Now, my pace dropped to 13:16/mi for part two but who cares?! I was just glad I could keep putting one foot in front of the other. I’d be lost without my Garmin as I find it invaluable in providing me with accurate progress reports that I can work from. There I was thinking it was my slowest running session ever, but as it turns out I was actually working hard and running my fastest. I’m aware that my fastest pace is someone else’s slowest pace but I couldn’t give a fiddler’s as my running is for me, I am only in competition with myself and progress is progress! Think I might fashion myself a cape to wear for next week’s sessions. 🙂
Wednesday 17th February – For a split second this evening, I contemplate not turning up to my running session. I’m feeling weary and just want to plonk on the couch. I wrestle in to my gear nonetheless and am lucky to make it to the track at all as I doze off unexpectedly for a quick nap and awaken with only 15 minutes to the start of class!! The session tonight is an eye-watering challenge as expected. It’s divided into 3 sections. (30 seconds hard, 30 seconds recovery) x 7 minutes, (30 seconds hard, 20 seconds recovery) x 7 minutes and (30 seconds hard, 10 seconds recovery) x 7 minutes. The recovery sections are sheer bliss as the hard running requires barbarous effort. I am happy with my pace for the 3 sections of 11:55/mi, 11:21/mi and 12:51/mi. The session ends with a barbaric calf routine where we face the path with our feet on the path kerb. I’ve never felt anything like it and my balance leaves a lot to be desired. We batter on with 20 calf raises with both feet, then the left foot, then the right, 15 calf raises with both feet, then the left, the the right, and finally 10 calf raises with both feet, then the left, then the right. I fancy my eyes started to water with the exertion by the time it ended. Before we saunter off home Gary congratulates us all in the Beginner’s Group and Couch to 5K Group for all our efforts over the last few weeks, that we are making phenomenal progress and that he wants to gift Adrenaline Running Club awards to two members in particular who have made massive strides altogether since joining up. When one of the names he calls out is my name, I am pleasantly surprised but delighted. I attempt to behave and accept the acknowledgement and applause with grace and a smile and not burst into flames with the unexpected attention!
Thursday 18th February – I’m grumpy before I even leave the house this evening as when I was coming down the stairs earlier my runner’s knee pain kicked in again. I had been so looking forward to the session tonight so I rocked up the class with a big petulant head on me, knowing I’d have to be careful with my knee. We spend a while at the start learning how to do anterior and posterior pelvic tilts properly while standing, then, for what seemed like forever, a series of bridges, dead bugs and 100’s. The dead bugs are really drawn out, to be performed very slowly so we can feel the burn. I think I actually can hear myself whimper throughout this torture. I think they will never end. I feel I am failing miserably with these, the 100’s in particular and whisper grumpily, “I am way too contrary for this right now!!” and when the girl besides me starts giggling over at me, I relax a bit more and just get on with it. I try to embrace the flow and ignore my big contrary head. We move on to our circuit which has 6 stations, to spend between 30 seconds and 1 minute at each exercise (I can’t remember!), with no recovery between each station and the full circuit to be repeated 3 times. At the first station we do squats and then jumping squats. I stay doing the normal squats as my knee can’t cope with the jumps. The second station looks frightful altogether and a feeling of panic descends. We are buddied up. One person lies on the floor with knees bent and feet to the floor. The buddy then gently hands a massively heavy medicine ball of 12kilos to the person on the floor who is to thrust it upwards where the standing person is to catch it, carefully leading it back into their hands to thrust it upwards again. Myself and Kathleen eye-ball each other and start tittering nervously as we take our places. What if Kathleen drops the 12 kilos and smashes my face? What if I drop the 12 kilos and smash her face AND break her glasses? So we embrace the challenge and take it slowly at first, speeding up a little when we feel braver but it is nerve-wrecking all the same having a 12 kilo ball up in the air above your face. Firm friends are made here I feel with this exercise in trust! The second station is fast feet (running on the spot with speed), and strides. I am pure crap at the strides as my coordination is off and I am fearful of jarring my knee. Station three is the most horrendous for me with more dead bugs and 100’s. I feel overcome with frustration and ineptness with the 100’s as the strain in my neck is toe-curling and I don’t feel anything in my stomach muscles which are supposed to be on fire!! I stomp over to the fourth station which is push-ups on two kettle-bells, followed by tricep-dips using the kettle-bells also. I’m hard set to do a proper push-up on the solid ground, never mind up on two kettle-bells so choose to do the amended version which is just to stay up there, arms straight, holding the kettle-bells on the ground, legs out behind me, toes on floor. I enjoy the challenge of keeping my body raised up on the kettle-bells, after the 100’s fiasco at the previous station. The tricep-dips are tough too but I give it a good lash. At the sixth and final station we’ve to stand on one leg and hold the other one up at a 90 degree angle and pulse, followed by the other leg. I feel very deflated on the drive home. Stupid dead bugs!! Poxy 100’s!! As mentioned at the start of this post, I figured to change my mindset, there was no point in beating myself up, and chose instead to embrace my total incompetence in these exercises and focused instead on active practice ahead and progress. If I practice these at home every day, even for a few minutes, I know I will get them right and that is something to embrace and strive for.
Saturday 20th February – I know to increase my distance today by 10% only so have a 3.74 mile (or 6km) run ahead of me. I start off with the group that are doing the 3km run, and figure I can do two loops of the route to make up the distance required for today. It is a great feeling setting off on an early morning run with a load of other people. There’s a mad hill to climb within the first half of the run, the hill that used to curl my toes trying to get up it without stopping a few years back so I just grit my teeth and plough on ahead. When I return to the starting point I just keep going as have another 3km. Instead of doing a second loop I decide to stay going on a different route to keep me interested and my mind fresh with new sights. I am pretty mangled now for the second half and feel my face burning off me with the exertion. Knowing I am getting closer and closer to the finish line I am feeling more feisty to up the pace a little to finish strong. I am pretty much gasping when I get back to the rest of the group and on checking my Garmin I can see I have run 3.86 miles, a little over my target distance. It is sorely tempting to stay going to bring the distance up to the 4 miles but I behave and stick to the safe and advised increase for this day. The run in total takes me 50:36 to complete. It is more than gratifying to see that my mile pace increased as the run progressed: Mile 1 – 13:35, Mile 2 – 13:19, Mile 3 – 12:40. Happy Days!
My Weight Loss Update
I have lost 1lb this week, which is less than what I was aiming for but more than I deserved as had a wobbly weekend with chocolate. I really need to pull myself together when I leave the house to where temptation awaits at every corner. I can be very good at home where there are no trigger foods and sweets, chocolate, crisps, biscuits etc. are never bought in the weekly shop. It’s when I leave the house where the potential problems lie. I need to start packing again a little lunch box with my own foods, bringing little Good 4 U seed packets to munch on and Options Hot Chocolate sachets to treat myself to. It’s not that hard to lash a chicken salad or something together to bring along with me so that I stay on track and not dive head first into my niece Chloe’s divine lasagne!! This week my target weight loss is 3lb, bringing me ever closer to dropping into the next stone bracket. Weight loss so far is 4 stone 7lbs, with another 5 stone to go!
WOW Extra Lean Steak Burger with Salad
Sometimes I hanker after a really good burger so instead of galloping over to the chipper for one, I make my own but when I’m feeling lazy I use a gorgeous extra lean steak burger from the WOW (War on Weight) range by Karen Daly and the Karro Food Group, each burger containing only 122 calories and only 3.4g fat. I’ve only seen them on sale in Dunnes so far. It would have been just handy now to put that burger between 2 slices of bread or a boring white bap but it only takes a few minutes to jazz it up into a glorious feast with a seeded slim bagel, spinach, berries, seeds and more! Those yellow berries there with the papery cover are physalis and I love them, also picked up in Dunnes this week. The slim bagels are from Country Kitchen and only 120 calories each. Entire serving above is 391 calories. Enjoy!
- 1 x WOW Extra Lean Steak Burger
- 1 x Country Kitchen Multi Seed Bagel Slim
- generous handful of spinach
- 20g slice of mozzarella cheese
- few rocket leaves
- 20g carrot, grated
- 1 tsp American style mustard
- 3 slices cucumber
- 2 cherry tomatoes, halved
- 30g raspberries
- 30g blueberries
- 20g pomegranate seeds
- 1 tsp Good 4 U Super Seed Sprinkles
- Grill the burger on both sides until fully cooked. Place a few spinach leaves and the grated carrot onto the bottom half of the bagel. Top with the cooked burger, placing the mozzarella slice on top. Place back under the grill to melt the cheese.
- Drizzle the American Style Mustard over the top and place a few leaves of rocket and finally the seeded top half of the bagel.
- Plate up, surrounded by your gorgeous salad of spinach leaves, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, blueberries, raspberries, physalis, pomegranate seeds and Good 4 U Super Seed Sprinkles. YUM!