I haven’t written in so long! I miss it. Life is very busy. Very. Busy.
Not sure where to start.
Right after my last post in July, I had to go back to work. School didn’t start until August 10th, but at the end of July, I was asked if I wanted to move my classroom to a larger one with windows. YES PLEASE!! (I think I’ve written about this before, so I’m backtracking a bit for continuity.) It’s an awesome room. I’ll be there for a while, I hope. The move wasn’t far – just about 100 steps from door to door. Still took about a week to move my stuff and get things organized. The week after that, teacher meetings started. The week after that, kids arrived. There hasn’t been much time to do anything. In fact, I shouldn’t be doing this right now. I have food to prep, laundry to do, grades to enter, lessons to plan… that’s my non-gym life now. There are 200 students on my rosters as of yesterday. Not sure if I’ve ever had that many students. And most are 10th graders. It’s not the same as having 200 12th graders. If you’re a high school teacher, you have an idea of what my days are like.
My days are long. I am settling into a routine of going to bed around 8 pm and getting up at 3 am. It’s too early, even for me. I can’t keep that up for more than a couple of days without losing brain function. But there is rarely time during the school day to do lesson planning or grading. Now add in the workouts. Yup. Very. Busy.
It’s been two months since I competed. Lifting is going well. No injuries. Haven’t tried to hit PRs yet. I’m focused on improving form. Bench press form has gotten better, so I’m expecting strength gains there. I’m not even trying to push myself through a full workout on any given day if the time is crunched. I look at the spreadsheet Coach sends me as a “to do” list for the week – and the week might take 8 days to finish. There is increased volume in the program. Most secondary exercises are done in sets of 15-20 reps.
And 15’s suck, btw. Lifting is how I cope, so I won’t allow it to be a source of stress. My strength is coming back. I won’t test it for another month. Should see some PRs then.
Coach has been working with me as I transition from tracking food to eating intuitively. It’s been fun and weird and scary. I like it. I need to have less stress, so not tracking food and not trying to hit macros makes like simpler. I had a good reverse diet and didn’t gain a lot of weight post-competition. I’ve had a couple challenging weeks with intuitive eating, so the scale has crept up a little more, but I’m still less than 10 pounds over stage weight, which is OK. In fact, my weight now, two months post-show, is about what it was two months before the show, so I guess that’s also evidence of a good reverse diet. That’s about as heavy as I want to get during this entire off-season. So my challenge is to learn how to use the mirror and the scale to adjust my activity and food intake without tracking anything. There is no way I could have done this in 2009. Or 2012. Or last year. But now I can. I hope. Still working on “dialing it in” as they say.
My mental game is improving about life and bodybuilding. I can’t lie – what happened at the show rocked me. Every time I look at one of the videos I post, I’m reminded of that “you have a normal female pelvis” comment I got as one explanation as to why I didn’t place higher (one of several reasons why I didn’t place higher) – and that just brings up all the helplessness feelings I have about not being able to change things. And then I push it off. I remind myself that I love what I’m doing and I will continue to improve what I can improve. I wrestle with it a bit, get it back in a box, and push it into a corner of my mind. Coach and I both know that we will have to open that box and deal with the stinky thinking at some point again. What has been helping me lately is a suggestion from a friend to listen to an audiobook called “The Power”, which is the sequel to “The Secret”. I loved “The Secret”. I show it to my classes. This new audiobook has some parts that are a bit too silly, but the overall message is one that makes sense to me. In a week, I’ve listened to it twice. It’s a reminder of something I already knew – focus needs to be on gratitude and love. I like how it makes me feel and how it helps me navigate my life. Remember those 200 students? And then there is the rest of what’s involved with being a government employee that makes no good sense… I need to work on staying patient, calm, and internally balanced.
As busy as I am, I have thought about discontinuing my social media involvement. Thing is – every time I consider it, I hear from someone I’ve never met, someone who hasn’t ever commented before, who has borrowed a little courage from me to do something that is important to them. I didn’t start all of this to be anyone’s “inspiration”. I did this for accountability. I knew if I told the Internet that I was going to do a thing, I would get it done. Decades of hiding kept me from fully committing to change. Had a conversation with a friend about the quote “I want to inspire people…” etc – you know that one? I realized when we were talking about it that, to me, wanting to be an “inspiration” might be a form of approval-seeking? Probably doesn’t come across that way for anyone else, but it just doesn’t feel right for me. I spend my whole day pushing kids and I suppose that’s the same as trying to “inspire” them, but inspired or not, I expect them to work and learn a little geometry before the bell rings and they bolt off into the hall. I’m a teacher. I’m a teacher in my day-job and I think of myself as a teacher online, too. Just don’t assign homework here. (Maybe I should? That’s an interesting idea.)
So here I am, writing instead of grading, writing instead of food-prep, writing instead of laundry. If we attract what we put out into the the universe with what we feel and say, then posting online must have power, too. I’ve been mindful of that before, but more so now. It’s important to me to make positive ripples online. I know that negative rants and such things get more attention, but they don’t add anything positive to anyone’s life – certainly not mine. I can control that. I intend to control that. 🙂