Living in my truth

As my slogan says, we ALL having something that needs to getmended.  Well, today, I put a few stitches in myself, thanks to the help of some wonderful seamstresses.

The hardest thing I think people have with getting mended is threading the needle.  In E speak, it’s facing your fears and doing battle with that which needs mending.  I’m a little fearful of drowning.  Yes, I can swim but I need a safety stroke, a recovery stroke, a stroke I can go to when I get tired or scared buuuttt I’m too scared to try it.  How crazy is that?!  Anyway, today, my new BFF (best fitness friends) helped me, well, we helped each other, getmended.

See, for me, being a #RealAthleticWoman is about My Real, not yours.  IDK how much you can lift, how fast, you can swim, how fast you can run because your effort will not/does not benefit me to the extent that my body will benefit.  My mind will and I appreciate that but people looks at chunkmunks like myself and we and out preconceived notions of what Athletic or an Athlete looks like fills our brain.  I’m doing me and if that means, I have to use a pull buoy and fins to acclimate myself to swim across the pool then so be it.  I’m not ignorant to the fact that you can’t use those things in a race but in the words of Allen Iverson – “we talking about practice.”  Can’t get better without confidence and you can’t build confidence without tools.  Hell, even babies use a walker to build their confidence.

My second mendation came in the form of CrossFit knees to elbows.  Now if you don’t know what that is, Snapple it.  Now, I only use my hands for writing, typing, eating, bathing and anything else that will not leave any marks or pop-up veins on my hands.  My hands resemble those of an 5-9 y/o child.  My fingers are bones wrapped in prosciutto thin skin. I don’t even open twist bottles or soda cans – I have a thing about my hands/fingers hurting.  Well, that will never do in Crossfit, especially when doing knees to elbows or pull-ups.  Needless to say, those 4 rounds of 8 were-not-pretty.  My hands burned, through the gloves mind you and my fingers were getting tight and the entire experience was so unpleasant but I fought through those 4 rounds of 8 and after those and WBS, I dropped down from the bar, finishing in 05:32.  There were some in the class who finished in 3 minutes, good for them.  I have no desire to compete with you because that’s not my purpose.  This is MY Real – 5 minutes and 32 seconds, over half spent on 4 rounds of KtoE and wringing my hands out.

In the wintertime, have you ever hit your hand on something and the pain just seemed to stay there FOREVER?  Well, that’s how I feel about my hands/fingers.  I know it’s something I need to rid myself of but the process is going to make for slow progress.

I’m no small chick and I’m ok with it.  Not asking anybody else to be.  Those like me, both male and female are doing our best to mend #whatailsus in our own way.  Society wants everyone to look and do everything the same – well wouldn’t that be just boring.

Me and my BFFs, we swim different, we have different body types but the effort we all put in is Real and it is all our own.  So shout out to every #RealAthleticWoman and #RealAthleticMan who are getting it done apologetically and with style and finesse.

What ails ya?

Tom Ford

Coming up, coming down…  Yeah, as a triathlete, in the water, you do a lot of that but yesterday it took on a more ethereal meaning.

In my quest to become “friends” with water, I took a Learn to Dive class.  I’ll pretty much do anything water related to toughen myself mentally in preparation of my quest to swim 1.2 miles and taking this class definitely put a few more muscles in my swim confidence.

My instructor, Johnathan Biggs, was about as perfect as an instructor could get.  Patient, kind, encouraging, correction without making you feel like a complete loser and quite witty.  First was the classroom.  You know the do’s, don’t’s, hand signals, safety: all the legal stuff that you need to know before coming down.  I learned a great deal, best Groupon I’ve used.

After class, it was time for show-tell-do.  I watched him outfit his Buoyancy Compensator Device -BCD (i.e., the vest that holds the tank and thing you breath in) and I was able to mimic him down to the insertion of the extra weight.  Next came the “real deal”  getting in the water with the tank on.  Umm, yeah, it’s definitely different.  It’s like playing in the pool with someone on your shoulders, although I don’t really know what that’s like because I’ve never done that, but I imagine the experiences are similar.  So, once I got the breathing into the aspirator down, it was time to come down, and so I went.  Now, if you’re a swimmer, you’ve sat on the floor of the shallow end of the pool before and it probably was no big deal.  Well, hovering over the floor in the shallow end, palms on the floor with a BCD on your back, aspirator in mouth while wearing a mask that covers your nose is quite the experience.  I’m not used to breathing out of my mouth, especially underwater, so that was an adjustment.  I felt panicky because I felt my nose was stopped up and it was hard to breathe but it wasn’t because I had pure air in my mouth, I had to remember to inhale.  I had my GoPro and I got some footage but not sure how much because, you know, I walk around in a dazed and confused state and I forgot to make sure the battery was fully charged but nevertheless, I mastered the underwater mouth breathing w/aspirator.  Now, why is it whenever you make a little progress, instructors/teachers always want more?  Excited that I had the breathing down, we ventured out of the shallow to the 10ft.  Now, diving is an experience in that you can’t wear earplugs so this is where it gets good and wet.

Clearing the pressure from one’s ears, while wearing a mask over your nose that occasionally may get water in it, while breathing out of your mouth takes a little bit of skill and lots of practice.  Took me a minute to master the water release from the mask without completely drowning myself but I was able to give the OK sign and move on to the real Molly.

The BCD is the technical name for my Molly, the air inflater/deflater thing was my ticket to maintain perfect  buoyancy. It pumps air in and out of the vest to help you ascend and descend.  Once in the 10ft, swimming back and forth without using my legs was a serious challenge, because hey, Triathletes are conditioned to using our legs, sometimes in the water but it’s the exact opposite here.  Bad thing about my swimming back and forth is that I would run into the wall and become vertical and in scuba diving, you don’t want to do that too quick because of the pressure and you could literally pop a lung. Took a few trips but I got the hang of it and was able to circle swim over the 10ft edge.

All total, I spent about 45 minutes to an hour Learning to Dive and I must say, it was one of the most peaceful experiences I think I’ve ever had. Time seemed to stand still underwater.  I could hear and actually control my breathing, whenever I felt myself get anxious.  I was listening to my breathing and allowing my body to work.  NEVER did that before.  I tried listening to my breathing while running, yeah, totally didn’t work. Here, I felt serene, happy, calm and very present and aware.  My mind felt at rest, all that while submerged underwater, breathing out of my mouth. Go figure.

John said scuba diving changes peoples lives and he’s right.  There’s something to be said about it and for me, it’s the ultimate definition of “going with the flow”.  In scuba diving, less is best and in a world where we are constantly being told we need and want more, it was a welcome change.  There were many highs and lows and I happily embraced them all.

Now, regarding my parallelization, I had to Google Molly and after reading up on it, scuba diving is definitely my Tom Ford.  The BCD (inflater/delflater) is what helps you achieve Neutral Buoyancy – the state where you are neither floating nor sinking.  For me, it was that perfect high people talk about.  I’ve never had a runner’s high, probably never will but I did have a moment of euphoria when I crossed the finish line of my first Tri but this feeling was different.  It stayed with me, is still with me now and most “drugs” don’t last that long.  The effects were so lasting, I was able to reduce my rest time while doing my laps in the pool today.  So much so, that I was able to lower the times of my 300, 400 and 800yd swim.  I didn’t do anything different, but I felt better in the water.  I felt like the water’s friend.

Habits are normally expensive, this one is no exception but as long as I remember the rules, I shouldn’t suffer any negative, long-term effects.  This experience was good for my mental health, Namaste.

Coming up, coming down, Riding clean, fix your hair in my crown…

Hold up, I don’t pop Molly, I rock Scuba Diving.

But my ears do pop!   What ails ya?

and just think, if I trained

Greetings sports fans.  Your favorite RAW athlete starred in the Elympics yesterday and set some major records.

Let me preface this by saying, I’ve gained weight and as a result, I’m a bit slower add that to the fact that I don’t really train/workout like I’m supposed to but that’s neither here nor there #sizemattersnot

The Smithfield Triathlon, part of the VTSMTS series was my first tri of the 2015 season and man, did I show up and OUT!  Since November, I’ve been focusing on the swim.  I know how to ride a bike and I know how to run.  I know how to swim but not as well as I need to or would like to so I set about work on my weakness.  I started my own swim club with the help of USMS and City of Norfolk Southside Aquatic Center and swim 3 days a week.  I took private lessons at ODU to build on what I was doing for myself which brings us to yesterday.

It was a beautiful picturesque day in Smithfield, VA and I was cool, calm, collected and cute.  The swim was a short pool swim, 300 meters but that’s a lot when you aren’t confident in your swim skills.  Not today, I had a plan and my plan worked.  If you’ve never done a pool sprint, it’s like the HRBT traffic at rush hour.  Lanes clogged with people trying to pass people who don’t want to be passed but I didn’t care, I had a plan and life and everything in the pool went according to it, that is until Drafting Dora decides to weigh me down.  Initially I was pissed, but then I realized, she thought I was that good, even mentioning to me “girl you are fast!”   I swam the swim leg, all of it.  No walking, to aqua jogging, no lane line climbing, none of that.  I swam.  Got out and had to kiss myself I felt so good.

After that, I didn’t give 2 shakes of each thigh about the rest of the race.  I got passed on the bike by my fellow swim buddy – didn’t even care.  I met my goal – swim the swim leg.  Turns out, I did more than that.  When all was said and done, I turned in a sub 2 finish.  My run was great, did better than I thought or was intending to do but again, all that is just roses on an iced cake.  I conquered the swim.  All total I did 13.29 miles in 1:58 and I didn’t even primp in transition but let’s not get crazy, just before the finish, I had to gloss my lips and wipe the sweat from my brow.  Race finish photos are EVERYTHING. I had PRs all over the place. Elympic GOLD or in this case, pink!!

I cannot tell you how happy I am with myself.  I worked on my weakness and it paid off big.  We all know I’m a slacker, if I actually trained like I did before, I mean, in all 3 disciplines, maaannnn the world couldn’t stand me.  Really, I’d be that person,  nah I’m kidding.  I’d be me, just better.  I still have my ultimate goal of doing a 70.3 and that requires OWS training so that’s next on the list but for now, I give all praise and glory to G-d for giving me enough focus to stick with this swim regimen, the physical strength to get it done and mental strength to go when I didn’t want to and re-start when I gave up.  I am FEARFULLY and WONDERFULLY Made and yesterday I lived up to it.  Hello, my name is E.J. Powell and I am RAW.  This lil piggie went wee, wee, wee all the way to the finish line!
What ails ya?

#SkirtSports #Ambassador #FusionSports #Ambassador #RealAthelticWoman #RealAthletics #Athena #SizemattersNOT

What size is this thing?

Growth, while necessary, can be painful.  My last baby brother grew too quickly and as a result, he suffers chronic knee pain.  It was a natural process but somewhere along the line his body wasn’t quite ready for the physical change facilitated by nature.

My body is done growing, at least upwards anyways.  No, the growth I’m referring to is mental and spiritual and at times, it seems a tad bit tight.  See, if you’ve been following along you know that you don’t really know me.  Don’t feel bad, no one does and the reason that is, is because I’m a private person.  I’m painfully private.  Took me years to be obedient to share my gift and even this is anxiety filled.  I’m an artist and I’m sensitive about my -ish.  That being said, you can’t hide your light forever because eventually the flames get too big and too hot.

The flames are proving too much for me and my bush is about singed to the core so up I stand, again, to share the shine of my light, as we all should.  The use of one’s gift involves sharing and that is not something I was familiar with as a child.  Having to learn that process as an adult proved a little difficult.  No, you may not have any of mine, I will get you your own – was my philosophy.  We all know that is not how it’s supposed to be, but hey, I’m a WIP.

Today, I grew, twice.  I reached out and so far, what I thought, desired and imagined would happen, happened.  Now, that’s not to say that things can’t go far to the left but what I’m learning is that it’s not really me that’s growing but my faith.  It feels weird because you hear people talk about it but you can’t recall it ever happening to you.  Oh, it’s happened before but in our preoccupation with (insert whatever) we may have missed it.  I know I have, did and do.  But not this time.  I know we get hesitant when things start to flow so easily.  It’s like running or riding down hill.  You want to take advantage of the momentum but you don’t want to crash and burn either.  Thus my current dilemma.  The Word says, every good and perfect gift comes from the L-rd.  The Word says, pray without ceasing. What The Word doesn’t tell you is when it will come or what it will look like.  Man, I wish my grandparents were alive, they’d know exactly what it looks like but it is not their faith that needs the growth.  No, babygirl has to do this walk on her own, no earthly assistance and that sucks but I got this.

I’m an ambivert with more introvert tendencies but 10 out of 10 people think I’m an extrovert and that is because I’m good at what I do, whatever I’m doing at that time.  I’m a Jack(queline) of all trades and a master of nothing because there is only one Master.  I’m grateful for this growth, as uncomfortable as it is and will be, I’m sure things will level out.  I read that before walking the red carpet, some female celebrities of the curvier nation will put on several layers of Spanx to achieve that glass smooth finish.  Right now, I feel like I’m wearing a waist trainer, the entire collection of Spanx, Assets, corsets and ace bandages ever made.  But like the diamond and the pearl, it takes a lot of grit to get that glory.  I’ll take small breaths.

I read somewhere or heard it somewhere that, and I’m paraphrasing here – the more afraid you are to do something, the more you need to do it.  Now that is all relative but I think in my case it’s true.  Too bad I can’t use Biofreeze or Arnica gel for this pain.  Where is that McDonald’s straw?

My First Triathlon

So, normally I don’t post too much about my athletics because I’m not much for bragging, or what I consider bragging because I’m the only person in my small circle who’s doing it; but I joined this triathlon group after reminding myself that I had told myself that I would be more engaging.  See, groups can be cliquish and snobby and quite unwelcoming; which is what I encountered on my way to becoming a triathlete.  Runners are the worse.  If they don’t perceive you as an athlete or someone who can run fast, forget about it.  You’re lucky if you get an introduction, more less someone to run with you.  So, I told them to kick rocks and went on my way.  

Anywho, being raised an only has its perks.  I trained alone for my first Tri in 2012 and overall I did well.  My swim was exhausting. There was splashing, walking, gasping and waayy too much effort, but I made it. It was a pool swim and by the time I finished the first circle, I was ready to go.  Good thing they let you walk and use the lane lines, otherwise some of us might still be there, me included.  I finished in 16 minutes which oddly enough, was exactly what I thought I would do.  My swim lessons were mediocre because (1) too many people in the class and (2) we never really did swim/stroke/deep water. Didn’t matter that I was near the end of the swimmers, my 28 chicklets were still shining as I trotted off to the bike.  Now, every thing I read talked about transition but here’s the thing, I didn’t really think it mattered.  I can’t put wet feet into dry socks and so thus began my tradition of Primping in Transition because Prettiness NEVER takes a back seat.  I did well on the bike, except for the hills.  Good Night Irene those things were a killer.  Made it back and again, PiT took over.  I don’t buy into that whole “If you still look pretty, you didn’t work hard enough” foolishness, reason being, I ALWAYS know where the cameras are and No, I’m not vain but I’m not buying an ugly race photo either,  you can miss me with that. At the end of my run, I turned towards the finish line, saw my friends and I felt a wave of emotion come over me.  I flashed my Orbit smile and raised my arms up and that was and is a winning image.  I had that made into a magazine cover to commemorate the occasion.  When I see my time I chuckle, PiT got the best of me, but I finished. PiT is something I’ve built into my schedule.  Honestly, I’m not too concerned about time, I’m one of those people who just wants to finish because whether I’m first or last 9Ricky Bobby voice), you will still call me a Triathlete. My medal will look different only from the those who are crowned Champion.  

Some people are annoyed by those of us who “just want to finish” but since I’m not competitive, not in that since, my training and effort will pay off by way of my finishing injury free and finishing strong.  My friends ask me all the time, “Why do you do it?” and I say because I can, literally.  I know soo many people who can’t do much and I figured, since I have full use of my body, I’m going to move until I can’t move any more.  I’m highly creative and I have ADD ( I think) so I get bored, quick.  That’s how I started doing Tri’s in the first place.  I will probably never do a 26.2 mile race because I’d be too bored.  Tri-ing is a lifestyle and like all lifestyles, everyone’s is different.  So, this group I joined, turned out to be pretty cool.  I had my doubts at first because, as I stated, groups can be tricky. New people can be annoying, veterans can be a**es; so like a box of chocolates, you just don’t know what you’re going to get. To my delight, I’ve really enjoyed the group.  I’ve learned tons because I don’t ask a lot of questions or if I do, it’s to see if people really mean what they say when they say you can ask anything.  I listen (read) a lot from what others in the group have to say and then I research to see if it’s for me.  I take offense to nothing or at least try not to because nothing is about me, so again, I just listen and take note.

I’m not sure how long I’ll do triathlons before I get bored and move on to something else.  Already I have my eye on a summer adventure, L-rd willing and the creek don’t rise, and it does not involve Tri-ing.  I’m serious about what I do – I buy the gear, gadgets, outfits (yes, that is what I call them) the whole nine because I’m serious about it. Anything I do, I’m all in, even if “all in” is for a brief period. I do Triathlons because there’s something extraordinary about doing 3 events one right after the other and regardless to what your physical shape is or may look like, when you cross the finish line it means only one thing – you are a Triathlete.

I’m not your average athlete because there’s nothing average about me. Well, at one time it was my height (5’5 with brown eyes, smile like the sunrise)  but I’m not average, I am a Real Athletic Woman, my REAL not yours and this is my world.  I don’t allow squirrels.

What ails you?