Month: June 2012

No Vacation: No Distraction

Everyone knows I’m a huge traveler and love experiencing new places, cultures and food.  So you might find it surprising when I talk about my plans for the summer. I have decided to take NO VACATIONS.

No Beach This Year 😦

Here’s why:

I have a goal to swim a 5k at the Deer Creek Open Water Swim.  This is an ambitious goal- 3 times what I struggled to swim at the GSL race.  I know I will not be able to accomplish this goal without some serious dedication.   Even with the dedication it will be a challenge.

I had thought about going to Disneyland but I have to go to California for work/reunion (doesn’t count as a vacation, more like a business trip) and if you add Disneyland it will be 2 weeks away from my training.  I can’t risk that.

I also decided to put the  money I would have put to travel towards my training.  I have started meeting with a dietician and am taking UFC kickboxing classes (they are so much fun and the trainer is great!).  This week I was supposed to take the week off and rest my muscles…I have worked out every day.  Not too successful.  Sorry doc!

I’ve also been watching what eat even more carefully and am using myfitnesspal.com to help me keep track.  I found I was either eating too much or too little.  Now it is closer to the right balance.  By not going on vacation I am able to control my diet more carefully.

I still have vacation days to use but I plan on applying those to recovery days and then if I have extra I may take a trip in the winter to NYC.  Maybe New York for Christmas! (The Tony awards peaked my interest in a couple shows).

What I would love to do is save money so I can go to the swim camps in Costa Rica.   That would be a dream come true! It would also be an easy trip to go by myself because it is planned, group oriented.  I don’t feel like I am a good enough swimmer yet for it to be worth it but I’d love to go!

http://www.costaricadreamswimcamps.com/costaricadreamswimcamps.com/Welcome.html

I’m really going to miss the beach this year. It’s just not summer without the beach but at least I have a salt lake to enjoy and there is always the man-made strangeness of Black Ridge in Herriman.

Black Ridge reservoir (more like a cow pond behind some houses) strange place but nice!

I’ve just got to make sure that with no vacation I don’t make myself crazy.  I’ve got to find ways to relax within my normal schedule.  Especially with training this could be difficult.  I do not want to get over-stressed like I did before the GSL (no promises but I’m going to try!).

What do you do to relax when you can’t vacation or travel?

 

Walking Hypocrites

The only vice that cannot be forgiven is hypocrisy. The repentance of a hypocrite is itself hypocrisy.

William Hazlit

Here’s the problem with Mr. Hazlit’s statement- are we not all basically walking hypocrites?’  Are we not all living lesser versions of an ideal life? Are we not all espousing greater virtues than we actually display?  Is not the essence of successful human beings an aspiration for something greater than what they currently are?

And yet, few concepts are as inherently repulsive to modern audiences as hypocrisy.  In the world where ‘being open-minded’ is essential the idea of a hypocrite who asserts one thing but does another is a cardinal sin.  I know people that have been unable to commit to much in their life because of a fear of sinking into hypocrisy.   These people seem to say “you can’t enter something unless it is a perfect moral fit, unless you can do it all the way”.  I’ve seen people that the tiniest tinge of hypocrisy they give up and keep searching for something more authentic.  Usually life ends up teaching them to be more practical and less ideologically pure.

“He wears a mask, and his face grows to fit it.”

George Orwell

Is not this a high standard for participation in life? Everything that is worth doing will challenge initial goals and presumptions.  If we are not willing to humble ourselves and admit we may have overstated our initial claims, admit to a bit of hypocrisy, can we ever really learn anything?

“I was not a hypocrite, with one real face and several false ones. I had several faces because I was young and didn’t know who I was or wanted to be.”

Milan Kundera

Having a strict abhorrence for hypocrisy sticks people in one spot and never allows them to try on different ‘faces’, to see who they might be if they went another way.  I’ve known people that started out the class clown and could never quite break free from that role. If someone has always been sweet do we not feel betrayed and saddened by an outburst? Would this not encourage someone to never be real and complicated because of a fear of the hypocrite label?

Even Jesus spoke about hypocrites, calling out the pharisees and sadducees, for preaching one thing and then behaving in an entirely different manner.

“Thus, when you give alms, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.”

Matthew 6:2

I’ve been thinking about this topic because in many ways I feel like a walking hypocrite.  I am an open book with my life and yet I find it almost paralyzing to deal with any kind of conflict.  I am a romantic at heart and love pink, sappy movies and the whole idea of romance; and yet I am a realist that has a hard time with human physical affection and traditional feminine roles.  I love living alone and espouse it’s virtues but I also thrive off of a wide circle of friends.  I am the epitome of a goal-setter but goals often make me crazy with anxiety.  I am incredibly independent and yet needy in a certain way.  I hate being told what to do but I love mentors. I am a warm, happy (even smiling!) girl who also feels great anger and struggles to forgive. I could go on.

What do you think about hypocrisy? Where is the line between common, every man variety of hypocrisy and the type that Jesus warned against?  When does it become repulsive and at the least irritating? Is it perhaps the vibrato with which a person declares their character (such as sounding a trumpet)? If someone is very fervent in their perfection do we hold their conduct to a higher standard?  Probably but I think there is more to it than that.  I think hypocrisy is the kind of thing that is easy to ignore in yourself but feel appalled by in others.

For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?

Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

Matthew 7:1-5

So what can we do to be less hypocritical and more authentic? What do you think? My Dad is an extremely honest man who is totally comfortable in his own skin. He is also a man of constant self-examination.  Meaning he wants to be better, he thinks about how he can do things better and then he does it to the best of his ability.  He then is almost always happy with his effort.

Maybe being aware of your hypocrisy and striving to reduce is the key?  Maybe a constant effort to purify our hearts and behaviors of negative tendencies makes those around us less likely to apply the label of hypocrite?  Is this just the process of thwarting the natural man, making the hypocritical parts of ourselves smaller and less pronounced the older we get?

I wonder if the problem with hypocrisy is tied to judgement, either with ourselves or others.  That we judge something to be negative or evil and yet we are not perfect ourselves? Perhaps hypocrisy itself is not bad, only when the ‘pot calls the kettle black’ in judgement?

“We are all hypocrites. We cannot see ourselves or judge ourselves the way we see and judge others.”

Jose Emilio Pacheco

Or are we as human beings diametrically opposed to balance?  Meaning we have left brain/right brain mentalities that are by nature opposed.  This creates conflict with our behavior.  Maybe despite all we can do all of us are a Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde?

“All of us have to be prevaricators, hypocrites, and liars every day of our lives; otherwise the social structure would fall into pieces the first day. We must act in one another’s presence just as we must wear clothes. It is for the best”

O. Henry

What do you think?  How do you judge someone to be a hypocrite and how do you feel about your own hypocrisy?  This is a topic that has been on my mind a lot lately and forgive me if the above post was a bit esoteric but it was just the way my mind has been contemplating the subject.

I would love your feedback and I promise I won’t find it a bit hypocritical! 🙂

GSL Open Water Swim 2012

So I did it.  After all the hard work, training, anxiety, practice and even a last minute sinus infection I made it!  I completed my goal and swam the Great Salt Lake Open Marathon Swim.

Hail the conquering hero! Me and my medal!

It was definitely the most difficult race I have done so far both physically and mentally.  They almost had to cancel the race because of wind storms that had come in but luckily they abated enough in the morning to allow us to go forward.  Nevertheless, it made for choppy ocean-like conditions.  To make matters worse it was too windy to put out the normal course buoys.  These are helpful during the race because you can measure your progress more easily than looking at the finish line.  You have more to sight off and it is mentally more encouraging to know ‘I’ve done a 1/4 mile or 1/2 mile.

With no buoys I had to press forward and there were more than one occasion where I wondered if I could do it.  At one point I did some back stroke just to relax a little and not feel so stressed.  It helped (I think the kayakers thought I was crazy when I did that!).   I stayed close to the kayakers and that was helpful because they had a better vantage point to the finish line.  Plus, they were very encouraging.  (I need all the encouragement I can get in the water).

When I was 1/3rd of the way through I developed a strategy that helped me get through the race.  I figured I could do 100 strokes at a time and that would make the race seem smaller, kind of mini-goals.  Plus, the counting gave me something else to think about besides ‘wow, this water is salty.’ or ‘how come that finish line isn’t getting any closer?’.  After the 100 strokes I did a little bit of breaststroke just to use my legs more and feel like I was sighting better, shake things up a bit.  Then I rested for 20 seconds.  I’m not saying this is the fastest strategy but on this day with this race it worked.

Done!

I always learn something from these swims that I take away for my life and that’s my take away this time- you don’t have to conquer the obstacle in one mass endeavor, that feels too daunting.  However, if you can divide it up into manageable portions you can accomplish just about anything.

This week I got a blessing from an elder in my church and it said ‘if I have faith I will swim well and my swim will be an example to others’.  When you are out in those storms it’s hard to have faith in yourself, in the hours practiced, in the time spent mentally and physically preparing, but is that not the essence of faith.  It is believing in something that you haven’t seen, like crossing the finish line.  If I could believe, I could keep swimming, and I MADE IT!

Here I am at the finish line:

Thanks so much for all your support and love.  I feel overwhelmed.  Thanks to all my swim friends for helping me and becoming some of my most dear friends.  Thanks to my family and other friends for all your love and support. Thanks to my trainers and coaches for your guidance and help. Thanks to Josh and Gordon and everyone else who gave so much to make the swim happen. Most importantly thanks to God and Jesus Christ who carry me through all challenges and believe in any goal I set.   I am so grateful.

Hurray!!!!!!

Kate, Esther and I at the finish line
Me, Kate and Esther- showing off our muscles and race ink!
Esther, Kate, Jim Hubbard (who originally introduced me to open water), and me
Me with my new friend Etsuko. Both Etsuko and Esther are new to open water and they did great!
A group of my swim friends at the finish line.

When Goals Make You Nuts…

It’s only Tuesday…How I am going to get through this week I will never know?  As many of you know I have a bit of an anxious personality, coupled with a very strong will.  This makes for an interesting experience when setting goals.

I’ve never been a half way kind of person so I have to be very careful when setting goals.  I will become totally immersed in whatever I’m trying to do.  This caused for great disappointment as a teen because I didn’t make most of the things I set goals to do…Sigh.  (If any of you watch The Middle, I was basically Sue in real life!).   It wasn’t until I got into BYU that I finally made something I’d tried out for/applied for.  It was one of the best moments of my life partly because I expected to fail, or at best was cautiously optimistic.

I think it is these experiences that made me so anxious about goals.  I grew up feeling like I could accomplish anything but eventually being let down when I didn’t; hence the anxiety about seeing something through developed.  It’s the what if game- especially in the home stretch, when I almost have it.  (Just wait if I ever get engaged the weeks before getting married will be interesting!).

That’s what has been amazing about the last few years.  Unlike other times in my life I have actually accomplished almost everything I’ve tried to do. I think finishing my mission is a big reason for that.  I know  if I could do that, I can do anything.  It was definitely the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life and I made it through.  Not only did I make it through but I did a good job! (You set a lot of goals on a mission and I was pretty good at achieving those goals!).

Then I moved on to graduate school and I did that and started the fitness quest and open water swims, did those.  Even my recitals for voice lessons have all gone well.  (I hope I’m not due for a spectacular crash and burn soon…Again, anxiety).

And yet, there has been so much bad news in the last year and a half that I feel primed and ready for a victory. Still, I wish it would just come already!

In the end, I know I can do it.  I know it will be an awesome day! I’ve put in the work.  As the sports psychologists say I just have to keep the positive self talk because “negative self-talk becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy…”.

I also remember a talk I heard once by Elder Featherstone where he said “Decide what you are going to do if you don’t get an answer to your prayer and then proceed as if you will receive it”.  I’m not saying I’m perfect at this but I think there is truth to it.  If you can visualize a ‘worst case scenario’ and deal with that, put it behind you than it is easier to move on.

Recently I also got some good advice to turn your anxiety into something funny.  Laugh, not in a mocking way, but in a ‘I’m not going to be that ridiculous’ kind of way.  This helps you smile and take a breath.  I’m trying it out and it seems to work quite well.

Still, I wish this was a week where I was out and about instead of a mostly inside.  More time to stew, especially after my scary swim on Monday, is not a great thing.  Thank goodness I have great friends who are THE BEST!  I think every last one of my friends believes in me more than I believe in myself.  They may grow weary of reminding me that I can do it, but I never grow tired of hearing it.

Let me also put in a little plug for Doterra Balance.  It might be a placebo thing but I swear it helps me calm down.  Makes my heart stop racing and feel at peace.  It really does.

What works for you when you are anticipating a big event, feeling a bit anxious?  What calming techniques, coping strategies do you like?

I know music helps and hot liquids. Sometimes just getting your mind off of it is the best thing you can do.  That’s why my friends and I are going out Thursday night.  Anyone want to do something (not to late) Friday night? I’m not saying I’ll be great company but better than nothing!

Another technique I use is focusing on relationships and moments more than outcomes.  If you can say I gained this relationship or I had this great moment than the outcome is less important.  It’s especially good to focus on outcomes you can control.  For instance, I can’t control the weather or the waves but I can control my training and my diet.  I can control some outcomes such as ‘regardless I’m going to have a darn good blog entry on Saturday’.   That’s an outcome within my control.  It took me YEARS to figure that one out!

Honestly, the best thing for me is prayer and knowing that my Heavenly Father loves me regardless of all my insecurities, failures and foibles.  I learned on my mission that God knew me and that He accepted my best effort.  I left that experience having no regrets.  I can honestly say I have left every experience since then with NO REGRETS!  I haven’t been perfect.  In fact, I’ve had some spectacular screw-ups but I know God has accepted my effort and that is the greatest peace a girl can have.

I love this painting. It is the most peaceful image I’ve ever seen.

My mission president told me once ‘You don’t have to prove yourself to anyone’ and I think that’s such an important reminder.  I’ve already proven myself to the Lord and my loved one’s by just pushing forward, just trying.  They aren’t Simon Cowell.  I’m not being judged in that way.  I’ve already finished the race just by entering it.  Now is the home stretch and the whole journey both mental and physical will make the final triumph all the more victorious!

I’m like a kid at Christmas- I wish it would just come already! Ok.  I will try and get some sleep once again.

Insomnia and anxiety are not a great mix… 🙂

Scary Swim

So today I was planning on swimming at my gym with my swim coach this morning but he ended up cancelling.  Soon after that I got a text from my friend Erin that KSL was planning on filming some GSL swimmers for their coverage of the race this Saturday.  I figured it would be fun to be on TV and nice to get a swim in before the big race.

Erin, Kris, Josh, Goody, Chad and few others were there and we waited for the KSL team for about 45 minutes.  Finally we got the word they weren’t coming so we went in for a swim.  It was windy but in the marina the waves didn’t seem so bad but once we got out into the open water it was another story.   Almost immediately I was carried away in high steep waves (some in our group have guessed 4 ft, others 5 ft).  Pushing through I made it to the first buoy (the tide was pushing you out so getting to the buoy wasn’t too hard but it was getting back that freaked me out.)

I started to push for the white buoy wanting to keep up with my friends but about half way there I realized I wasn’t going to make it.  I actually got kind of scared and believe me it takes a lot to scare me in the water.  I’m a pretty tough cookie.  Josh saw I was struggling and told me to keep following the waves to the rocky beach and get out.  He was very kind to guide me to the shore. (I have the best swim friends!)

There was a scary patch before the turn to the beach loaded with huge rocks.  I was nervous about getting banged into the rocks and getting hurt.  My friend Erin said she would carry me back to the marina if needs be (I really do have the best swim friends!).

The nice thing is when you are in the heat of the stroke you don’t really feel all the chaos.  It’s not until you get up for air that you get scared.  I think there is something to that.  Remember how Peter was calm on the water until he started to look at the waves and then he felt fearful…Something to think about.

Anyway, I made it through the big rocks injury free (I am super scared of an injury that would screw up all my training!).  and then made it to the beach.  When I got out of the water I realized how much I had been kicking.  I felt like my legs were rubber.  It was hard to even half way stand up, especially on those rocks!

Josh went up to the marina and got my flip-flops (reminder to wear better shoes to the lake!).  Eventually I found my legs and made it back to the solid ground.

You might think this experience would make me more nervous for Saturday and maybe it does a little bit (it would hard to be much more anxious about it than I already am but that’s just my personality) but there is something about facing your fears and coming out on top that is exhilarating.  Seeing nature in all its majesty and  power is scary and awe inspiring at the same time.

But, I remember that my friends will be there on Saturday and there will be lots of monitoring to keep things safe.  I have trained hard and done the best I can.  I survived today and I will make it on Saturday.  So, if anything I am more confident than ever before for my race.  Maybe Saturday will seem like a piece of cake compared to today! In that sense today could be a real gift.

My twitter after getting out of the water- “So victory today at GSL. I didnt die! Really rough waters. Scary!”

It was a victory and I made it through. 🙂

Fat Stigma Never Leaves

This is a fascinating book on the history of Fat Stigma. https://smilingldsgirl.wordpress.com/2011/05/13/fat-stigma/

I read this article this week about the lingering effects of fat stigma.  It kind of was a downer.  Basically the study showed women of identical height and weight, one that had lost 70 pounds of weight and another who was naturally thin.  “Those who had been obese in the past were perceived as less attractive than those who had always been thin, despite having identical height and weight.”

“The findings, published May 29 in the journal Obesity, suggest that the stigma of obesity is so powerful that it can continue even after an obese person has lost weight.”

Sigh…I guess its good I’m doing this for myself and not to please someone else.  I see that stigma exists with overweight individuals but I always assumed that stigma went away when the weight is lost.  You think it would make someone more attractive not less? I don’t get it.

Oh well, at least everyone in my life is supportive and as far as a dating stigma, what can you do? If God wants me to be with someone He will make it work. I have not given up the hope that there is someone out there who will be more impressed by my journey not less so.

Still, human beings confuse me sometimes!  Why do you think we have such stigma and why can’t we let go of such judgmental feelings?

Once-Obese Women Still Face Stigma, Study Finds

WEDNESDAY, May 30 (HealthDay News) — Even after they shed their excess pounds, formerly obese women still have to contend with “anti-fat prejudice,” according to a new study.

Researchers asked young women and men to read about women who had either lost 70 pounds of excess weight or had stayed the same weight (weight-stable), and who were either currently obese or currently thin.

The participants were then asked about some of the women’s attributes, including their attractiveness.

“We were surprised to find that currently thin women were viewed differently depending on their weight history,” study leader Janet Latner, of the University of Hawaii at Manoa, said in a news release from the University of Manchester, in England. “Those who had been obese in the past were perceived as less attractive than those who had always been thin, despite having identical height and weight.”

The participants also showed greater bias against obese people after they had read about women who had lost weight, compared to after reading about weight-stable women — regardless of whether the weight-stable women were thin or obese.

The findings, published May 29 in the journal Obesity, suggest that the stigma of obesity is so powerful that it can continue even after an obese person has lost weight.

The researchers said they were particularly troubled by the finding that participants’ negative attitudes towards obese people increased when they were falsely told that body weight is easily controlled.

“The message we often hear from society is that weight is highly controllable, but the best science in the obesity field at the moment suggests that one’s physiology and genetics, as well as the food environment, are the really big players in one’s weight status and weight loss,” study co-author Kerry O’Brien, from the University of Manchester School of Psychological Sciences and Monash University in Melbourne, in Australia, noted in the news release.

“Weight status actually appears rather uncontrollable, regardless of one’s willpower, knowledge and dedication. Yet many people who are perceived as ‘fat’ are struggling in vain to lose weight in order to escape this painful social stigma. We need to rethink our approaches to, and views of, weight and obesity,” O’Brien noted.

https://smilingldsgirl.wordpress.com/2011/12/07/fat-stigma-biggest-loser/